Formula 1

Toto Wolff frustrated Sergio Pérez “pushed it a lot and lost it” costing Lewis Hamilton pole

2 Mins read
Credit: LAT Images

It was a frustrating end to Qualifying at the Dutch Grand Prix for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, after Oracle Red Bull Racing‘s Sergio Pérez brought out a late yellow flag for a spin at the final corner.

Lewis Hamilton was just a tenth off pole position after the second sector of his final lap in Qualifying Three; however, the seven-time World Champion was forced into aborting his lap after being behind Pérez on track.

Instead of a top three start, Hamilton had to settle for fourth which he accomplished with his opening lap in the final part of Qualifying. George Russell also fell victim to Pérez’ spin, with the former Williams Racing driver having to start from sixth as a result.

Team Principal Toto Wolff was frustrated to see both of his drivers be affected by the Red Bull driver “pushing it a lot”, but believes the Silver Arrows have a “strong race car” for Sunday.

“It was frustrating not to have the chance to improve our times on the final run of Q3, we were a tenth up on Verstappen and Leclerc so Lewis was in contention for the pole here. Unfortunately, Checo pushed it a lot and lost it but it’s not his fault. It’s just a decision you take, you can lose pole position because of a yellow or you can lose the pole by a few hundredths having run first – afterwards you always know better.

“We have a strong race car which has been in a good place all weekend and starting on the second row, anything is possible tomorrow. We developed a car which gains a lot of its downforce with a low ride height and sometimes you can’t run low because you are hitting the ground. You’re forced to take compromises in the setup which moves the car away from its sweet spot but here in Zandvoort, we’re able to find that spot much more easily.”

“Both drivers were encouraged by the way the car was handling” – Andrew Shovlin

Mercedes are looking so much better than they did last weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix, with the difference in performance simply incomparable. The team seem to have found the W13’s sweet spot easier at Zandvoort than they did at Spa-Francorchamps, something which has seen them run within a tenth consistently of Red Bull and Scuderia Ferrari.

Mercedes Head of Trackside Engineering, Andrew Shovlin, has been left encouraged by the German’s Saturday pace, with both Hamilton and Russell supposedly feeling very happy with the car’s handling and “looking after its tyres”. Mercedes might just win for the first time in 2022.

“After a really difficult qualifying session last week, it’s been encouraging to see that we have been able to get the car and tyres in a better place throughout free practice and qualifying. Both drivers lost positions with the yellow flag caused by Sergio’s spin, which is frustrating when it’s as tight as it was today but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. We did some race work this morning during final practice and both drivers were encouraged by the way the car was handling and looking after its tyres, so that will hopefully bode well for tomorrow.

“It’s also hard to know where everyone is going to go on strategy for tomorrow. There’s wasn’t a lot of long run data due to a number of red flags so it may be we see a range of strategies up and down the grid which could give us opportunity. We do normally race better than we qualify and if that proves to be the case, we should be able to make some good progress in the race tomorrow.”

Credit: LAT Images
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