ADVERTISEMENT
Wolff: We don't understand this car

Wolff: We don’t understand this car

Wolff: We don't understand this car

Toto Wolff admitted Mercedes are struggling to understand their W13 after qualifying seventh and eighth for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, 1.8s off the pace.

Mercedes brought some major upgrades to the race in Belgium hoping to buildup on the strong form they showed Hungary where they finished second and third with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell respectively, despite some external helping factors.

However, qualifying in Spa drew a gloomy picture for the eight-time Formula 1 Constructors’ Champions as their faster driver in qualifying, Hamilton, was only seventh fastest, 1.838s off the pace of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, keeping in mind the FIA’s full implementation of TD039, something Mercedes were hoping would slow the energy drinks outfit down.

However that wasn’t the case, as the final result in qualifying was tough to swallow, with team boss Toto Wolff expressing his disappointment despite penalties for other drivers pushing the Silver arrows up the starting grid for the race.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That was a very disappointing qualifying result, no matter that penalties for other cars tomorrow will push us up the grid,” Wolff said in Mercedes post-qualifying report.

“Four weeks ago in Hungary, we were on pole, albeit with some slightly unusual circumstances that played in our favour; today, we were 1.8 seconds off pole position,” he added.

Mercedes deficit not acceptable

“Nobody in the team thinks that kind of deficit is acceptable, and even now after 14 races, we don’t understand how to consistently get performance out of this car. We seem to have high drag on the straights and haven’t given either driver a balance this weekend to give them confidence,” the Austrian explained.

“Hopefully tomorrow we will have better race pace than we showed today, but we know that no matter our finishing positions, we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Wolff concluded.

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ director of trackside engineering added: “We were hoping to close the gap to the front here which is clearly not what we have achieved but this year has thrown plenty of setbacks at us, we just need to learn what we can from it and try to move forward.

“The car has been really difficult to get into a good working window here; we’re having to make a lot of compromises in how we’re running it in terms of balance and stiffnesses.

“That’s part of the problem but we’ve also failed to do a decent lap on new tyres all weekend which is probably a separate issue that we need to investigate and understand,” he explained.

“We will move up the grid a little for tomorrow as three of the cars ahead have penalties, but it will be all about race pace – if we don’t have that, then we’re in for a tough race.

“As always, we’ll be fighting hard to get every point that we can and maximise every opportunity in the race tomorrow,” the British engineer concluded.