Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff felt his squad “didn’t do a good enough job” during the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
After qualifying on the front row, it looked as though Lewis Hamilton would be taking the fight to Charles Leclerc in the race like he did at Monza. A gamble was taken to allow Hamilton to stay out at least six laps longer than Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen on his worn soft tyres that he started the race on to keep track position in the case of a Safety Car that would give him the advantage.
Unfortunately, by the time the championship leader pitted on Lap Twenty-Six, ten laps before the first Safety Car period, he came out behind Leclerc, Vettel and Verstappen in fourth place, which was where he remained until the end.
His position was helped though by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was ordered to remain out of the pit window to allow Hamilton to pounce on the top three on fresher tyres.
Wolff was to accept defeat and a missed opportunity of not only pole position but the race win as well, as his two drivers crossed the finish line in fourth and fifth.
“It’s been a disappointing weekend for us and a lot of the issues in the race today were created by our qualifying yesterday,” Wolff said.
“But we also didn’t do a good enough job today and we can’t be satisfied with P4 and P5. The undercut was more powerful than everyone expected and it would have been the right strategy call for us.
“Once we had missed the chance for the undercut, we were hoping to create some opportunity later in the race by offsetting our tyres, but that plan didn’t work. I think we had a car capable for pole yesterday and we had an opportunity to win today, but we made too many mistakes.”
With less than a week to go before the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom, the Austrian boss of Mercedes will be aiming for a return to victory, just like they did in Hungary earlier this season after one of their worst performances in the team’s history in the round before at the German Grand Prix.
“We’re aware that we didn’t deliver to the standards that we set ourselves this weekend, so we will review it and see where we can improve for Russia,” Wolff added.
“These tough days are the days that make us stronger. Sochi with its long straights will be a tricky race for us, so we need to make sure we get the best out of our package and get things right.”