- Nikunj Ashish Shah
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has claimed that their shortcomings this season are less painful than losing out to Red Bull for the title in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021.
Mercedes won 8 consecutive Constructor’s Championships from 2014 to 2021. They failed to do so this year and their run was stopped by the dominant Red Bull side.
Mercedes had a plethora of problems to deal with right from the very start of the season and it became very evident that their car isn’t up for the fight at the front. Mercedes, who had won 9 races in 2021, only managed to win a single race this season.
However, Mercedes’ win in the Constructor’s Championship last year was largely overshadowed by the controversial loss of Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen in the final race of the season which gave Verstappen his first-ever World Championship title.
Toto Wolff was asked by the media to rate which or the two losses hurt more. He promptly replied, “Last year was much worse,”
He continued, “The situation, that one event, [was] much worse than the whole season because last year it was taken away not by our own wrongdoing. But this year, we lost it on merit. We just weren’t good enough.”
Toto Wolff is referring to the last race of the 2021 season that was being led by Hamilton for the majority of the laps. Only in the last lap, did Max Verstappen manage to pass the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, that too after a very controversial restart that saw only a few of the lapped cars being allowed to unlap themselves.
Toto Wolff explained that the silver arrows were very strong last year but it all came crashing down in a matter of seconds in the last race. Whatever happened was not in control of the team.
Toto Wolff reflected back on the aftermath of their loss in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year and said that he completely lost control after the race. He said that it was the first time since his teenage years that something like that had happened.
“In my sense of fairness, that was totally against my values,” he explained.
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The main difference between last season and this season was that the 2022 season wasn’t as emotional for Mercedes. This is because they had already realized at the start of the season that they weren’t in the fight for the top spot.
Toto Wolff compared their troubles this season with that of an onion. As they slowly peeled one layer off and solved the issue, another layer was standing in front of them. Therefore most of the season was spent doing damage control.
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