- Nikunj Ashish Shah
Formula 1 News: Lewis Hamilton endured one of his worst F1 qualifying sessions for Mercedes in terms of pace, as he was thrown out of Q1 in Jeddah. The team continues to look for answers to its porpoising issues.
He finished 16th, however, due to Mick Schumacher’s withdrawal, he will start 15th.
With Red Bull and Ferrari seemingly a step ahead, and Mercedes still unable to fully harness the W13’s potential, it was left to George Russell to carry the team’s hopes in Q3, finishing sixth.
When asked about Mercedes‘ current situation, Wolff stated that he was not upset that the team was facing a tough challenge this year after years of dominance, but that the team needed to be closer to the front.
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Wolff said that he enjoys competition and he has always loved competition. They’ve had a really good eight-year run when they were in front of the pack, not constantly, but they managed to get there.
However, this time seems a little like 2013 when they were just not up to speed. Not with the Red Bulls and maybe not with the Ferraris too. But, they continued fighting. And, that’s how he is feeling right now.
He said they “need to fight.” It is “totally unacceptable” in terms of their performance. On the F1 road, they’re third, and sometimes it’s not even like today. So, staying where they are is just not an option.
Hamilton’s disastrous Q1 performance was caused by him making a mistake with the car’s setup.
While it wasn’t a huge variation from Russell’s setup, the decision to focus more on the front end meant Hamilton had no faith in the rear end, which was excessively loose.
In addition, Wolff said, they were trying with settings to find out where the car’s “sweet spot”. As a result, on Lewis’ side, they were a little more daring. The eventual result was that they had no rear end in the car. That explains the significant lead time gap, he added.
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While porpoising is currently Mercedes’ largest difficulty, the team is well aware that it is not its only issue, as the team is also dealing with an overweight car and a lack of a low-drag rear wing.
You can see between Lewis’ and George’s performance, there wasn’t a tremendous set of adjustments that happened, Wolff continued. But, they were big enough to have dramatic repercussions on the car’s performance between lunging in Q1 and strongly into Q3. That’s why it’s so difficult to set up this car.
He also said they had a reduced drag rear wing and removed the Gurney, but it wasn’t enough to reduce drag on the car any further.
However, he said that this isn’t the only issue for them in F1. Many parts of the car don’t operate or perform well enough. And, they are not able to comprehend them. Moreover, this isn’t the place where they all have ‘expected’ the car to be.
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