Formula 1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff –  “We couldn’t capitalise on the car’s race pace”

3 Mins read
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

It was a difficult FIA Formula 1 World Championship Singapore Grand Prix for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both making bad mistakes from either end of the grid.

Hamilton looked to be battling for a podium in the first half of the race, but as he was chasing down Carlos Sainz Jr. he hit the barriers, meaning he had to repair his damaged front wing. While trying to work his way back through the field, he went too deep into a corner losing a position late on to Max Verstappen, meaning he finished in a disappointing ninth place despite nearly snatching pole position on Saturday.

Russell started from the pitlane due to some reliability concerns and a poor performance in qualifying on Saturday, which saw him knocked out in Q2. A number of errors and a switch to slicks too early saw Russell finish last of all of the runners that saw the chequered flag.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff was disappointed with the team not maximising the car’s race pace, and also explained the gamble to switch Russell to the slick tyres earlier than the rest.

This season has given us several tough lessons – and today was another one. We started from opposite ends of the grid with our two cars, but we couldn’t capitalise on the car’s race pace with either of them, when it came to an end result. Lewis was fighting for the podium for much of the race – but also battling a car balance that was on a knife edge today, in difficult conditions and on the bumpy surface.

After he locked up and damaged the wing, the stop to change tyres and the nose cost him position – then he lost out even more when cars ahead pitted under Safety Car and jumped ahead. That left him stuck in a train of cars on very similar aged tyres, and he couldn’t make up any ground. For George, we rolled the dice on dry tyres when he was running out of the points – in hindsight, it was clearly too early, but he had nothing to lose, so we were prepared to take the gamble.

Even so, as the race unfolded, he was still on course to make it back to the points until the collision with Mick, which put him last on the road. The biggest frustration today is that we couldn’t build on the signs of competitive performance we saw in FP2 and in Qualifying.

Our championship fight for P2 has got significantly more difficult with this result, but the only thing to do is to collect ourselves and throw our energy into the next race in Suzuka to rebuild momentum.”

Andrew Shovlin Labels Singapore “a race to forget”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mercedes lost considerable ground in their battle for second in the Constructors Championship, with Scuderia Ferrari extending their lead on the German outfit.

Hamilton starting third on the grid was a sign of positives to come, but he fell out of touch with the leaders after being pushed wide by Sainz on the first lap, and later crashed into the barrier costing him massively. Russell on the other hand started from the pitlane and had an evening to forget with multiple incidents including one with Mick Schumacher that put him out of the race for a points finish.

Mercedes Andrew Shovlin labelled the race as one to forget and hopes the team can fight back in Japan.

Today was one of those races that seemed to go from bad to worse on more than one occasion. Lewis dropped a bit of ground to Sainz on the start and then got pushed wide and he lost all tyre temp going through the water. That meant the opening laps were tricky, but the bigger issue was we just couldn’t get close and without DRS there was no way to pass so we were just losing ground to Sergio and Charles.

Shovlin explained the reasons for Hamilton’s incident while trying to chase down Sainz as well as explaining the frustration with Russell’s race.

The fronts were getting a hard time in the traffic which contributed to Lewis’s lock-up and the timing of the front wing damage was unfortunate as we lost time with the change but then lost further positions as the Safety Car allowed others to pit without losing much time.

George’s race was equally frustrating, there were points, where it looked like he was going to be able to make good progress, but he was also finding it tough to get through traffic. The switch to medium was a gamble, he did a great job to keep it on the track but ultimately, we got it wrong and called it way too early.

The pain continued for Russell and the incident with Schumacher summed up a poor day at the office for Mercedes.

However, he did have good pace in the tricky conditions, and it looked like we would have at least got back into the points as he was pulling the cars ahead by many seconds a lap. Unfortunately, that hope was short lived when he had contact with Mick that caused a puncture. Overall, a race to forget, we’re going to use the next few days to regroup and prepare for Suzuka where hopefully we will put in a better all-round performance.

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