For the first time this season, Formula 1 racing team Mercedes had hopes of joining the duel between Ferrari and Red Bull. A major update was supposed to bring the Silver Arrows within striking distance at Le Castellet. But instead of closing the gap, Lewis Hamilton’s team is even further behind than before. For Nico Rosberg, this is a clear alarm klaxon.
Numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, from the point of view of Mercedes, which was miles away from the top in France on Saturday and also already on Friday.
In qualifying, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ended up 0.893 and 1.259 seconds short of pole position respectively. A class difference and a real slap in the face for the team, which had travelled to France with new parts and actually wanted to further reduce the gap with these updates.
Toto Wolff is not the only one who is surprised and annoyed by the fact that the gap has suddenly widened: “Instead of going forwards, we’ve gone backwards… As so often this year, we understand very little.”
Former world champion Nico Rosberg spoke of a “big setback” for his former employer after the blundered update. “They were going to come here, only three tenths off the top and make a really good step forward,” the German said on “Sky Sports”.
“But now they are nine tenths short, which is more than in the last races. And that’s with a new package that they had high hopes for. It’s not a good situation and I’m sure they’re scratching their heads,” the former F1 champion believes in a certain perplexity among the team so used to success.
According to Rosberg, however, there is still a small spark on the horizon for Mercedes. The W13 usually works better on Sunday than on Saturday. That’s exactly what the Silver Arrows have to hope for in France.
“It’s tough and a very, very big setback, but let’s wait for the race. If they are a bit closer there, that would give them a bit of hope,” Rosberg explained.