Wolff: Mercedes “unacceptable” as Hamilton fails to make grid

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that his team’s current position is “unacceptable”, while stressing that the W13 Mercedes Formula 1 car is impossible to set up. So bad was Hamilton’s qualifying it is unlikely he will make the grid for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix F1 qualifying, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton failed to improve on his 16th fastest time in Q1 in what he described as a “totally undrivable” W13. The British driver explained that his poor performance was largely due to poor steering in terms of set-up, which made his car very nervous from the rear, in stark contrast to his young teammate George Russell.


“I like the competition” says team boss Toto Wolff,

“We’ve had a very good run of eight years at the front of the field – not always – but we’ve kind of managed to take the lead. But this time it’s a bit like 2013 where we just weren’t up to the standard of the Red Bulls and probably the Ferraris as well,” said Toto Wolff on Saturday in Jeddah after the qualifying session.

“But we kept fighting, and that’s how I feel right now, we have to keep fighting. It’s certainly completely unacceptable to be where we are in terms of performance, because we are third on the track [last time out in Bahrain], and sometimes – like today – it’s not an option to stay where we are. Nevertheless, the optimal scenario for us today was no man’s land between Red Bull and Alpine, and that is certainly not acceptable.”



Hamilton chooses an undrivable setup

The Austrian also revealed that Lewis Hamilton’s poor qualifying performance on Saturday (he qualified in P16) was the result of a “slightly too bold” set-up change on the British driver’s W13 chosen by Lewis.

“What you can see is that between Lewis’ and George’s performances there weren’t huge set-up changes that took place. But they were big enough to have dramatic consequences on the performance of the car, between going out in Q1 and making it strong to go into Q3.”

“That’s why this car is really difficult to set up, we had a low drag rear wing, but it’s still not enough to reduce the drag of the car, but in general I would say that’s not the only problem. We have a lot of parts of the car that don’t work, that we don’t understand, they don’t perform well enough, and that’s not where the car needs to be.”

The Mercedes team is expected to decide to totally change the set-up of Lewis Hamilton’s car for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which would mean the British driver could start from the pit lane due to breaking of parc ferme rules.



16 responses to “Wolff: Mercedes “unacceptable” as Hamilton fails to make grid

  1. Funny he didn’t deem it unacceptable when Ferrari were off the pace. Anyway there are a lot of Merc customer engines running at the back. Maybe Lewis isn’t the GOAT! He’s definitely behind Fangio, Clark ams Senna.

  2. And here I was, being told Lewis could win in a cardboard box. Guess the myth finally comes to an end.

  3. The cardboard box concept is in the mind of the ignorant. F1 racing is so technical that the ignorant will never understand.

  4. I seem to remember the Lewis haters all coming out with this ‘he should retire’ nonsense last year but he proved you all know nothing about racing by drawing level and beating Max in the final race until Masi decided to go Hari Kari with his career and gift it to Max. You also know nothing about Lewis but then haters never do.
    Maybe you should all take up fishing instead 😂

      • I’m as shocked as everyone else, this is very unlike MB, organisation and efficiency is their trademark, so seeing them in such a state is strange indeed. The weeks leading up to testing all I kept hearing was about this great new W13 unit that would place them firmly in front but I don’t think the engine is the problem. My friends at MB are saying nothing so something is going on and I don’t think that RB or Ferrari would be counting MB out this early in the season. It’s shaping up to be better than last year which is all good.

        • I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that the results from the wind tunnel do not match the results on the track. especially when applying ground effect. Perhaps this also explains the difference between expectation and reality? Perhaps Newey and Ferrari were more aware of that from their ground effect experience. Who knows….

          • I think there was a degree of rushing here which bears out your statement and also very unlike MB, maybe too much concentration on the engine and less on design but this porpoising is like driving over speed bumps at 200mph. All credit to Russell for getting the place he did but Lewis looked lost. However, you can’t write Lewis off this early but it’s a much different start to the season than I expected.

    • But its normal. A team can’t stay on top forever. Merc had Done it way longer them any otter team.

      Key figurs leave and have to BE replaced. I’m confident that the merc team wil come back. As die Ferrari and red bull

      • Agree. Merc will bring a new floor allready in Melbourne so they probaly will be back by then. Let’s hope they will stay nr 3 team though.

  5. Lewis is the best ever.Mercs get his car sorted stop the humiliation Remember still you rise or has the best left you with this dreadful car to go to red bull.Pleased to see lewis take it well publicity. Come on its boring without lewis up front

    • I can handle some degree of bad English but this comment is beyond my understanding … it’s pro Ham, more I can’t make of it.

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