Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Hamilton Disappointed with Austrian Pace: “We weren’t expecting to be as slow as we were”

After the highs of the Canadian Grand Prix where the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team were contending for positions on the podium, the Austrian Grand Prix was a much more difficult weekend for the team, with the drivers finishing only seventh and eighth.

Lewis Hamilton was heard complaining early on about the driveability of his W14 at the Red Bull Ring and was handed not one but two penalties for exceeding track limits.  The second penalty came post-race that relegated him from seventh to eighth.

Hamilton admitted he did not expect to struggle as much as he did on Sunday, but he feels it will give the team an understanding on what areas of the car they still need to improve on.

“It was not the greatest of days today,” admitted Hamilton.  “We weren’t expecting to be as slow as we were and our performance this weekend was a surprise.

“We don’t have the answer as to why just yet, but this track has highlighted several areas of improvement we need to focus on.

“We knew we didn’t have a strong rear-end this weekend, so we took out a lot of front-wing to maintain the balance. I was really struggling into certain corners, particularly Turn 10, and sliding, which I couldn’t do anything about it.

“That is why I was struggling with track limits. We added some front-wing at both stops and the car began to come back to us, but it was still a challenge.”

“We need to understand what went wrong on our side” – George Russell

Team-mate George Russell finished down in eighth but was promoted to seventh as a result of the penalty for Hamilton, but he too endured a difficult afternoon at the Red Bull Ring.

The Spanish and Canadian Grand Prix had been good events for Mercedes with a competitive looking car, but Russell admitted he was confused to why they were not as strong in Austria.

“It was really challenging today, and our pace was not as we expected,” said Russell. “After yesterday, I was hoping for a little bit more from the Grand Prix.

“I am sure we will go away and get to the bottom of our performance here. We have the same car that we had in Barcelona where we were flying so we need to understand what went wrong on our side.

“The car certainly doesn’t feel how we want it to at the moment. It’s moving around a lot, and it felt a little bit worse this weekend than at other circuits; the pace was substantially worse though, so we need to get to the bottom of that.

Russell hopes the form they had shown in Spain and Canada can resurface next weekend for his home Grand Prix at Silverstone.

“Our performance is clearly circuit dependent now,” Russell added. “We were nowhere here but good in Montreal and Barcelona. That bodes well for Silverstone as that is a circuit more similar to Barcelona than Austria, so we’re excited for next weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“We will be aiming to come back stronger.”

George Russell moved up to seventh thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s penalty – Credit: Jiri Krenek