Sunday, July 21, 2024

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We had the second quickest car today, but the result doesn’t show it”

Toto Wolff felt the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team were the second fastest team during the Hungarian Grand Prix, but the result at the end of the day did not show this.

Lewis Hamilton finished the race at the Hungaroring in fourth place having started from pole position, with a slow-looking getaway seeing him fall away from the podium places by the time they had got to turn three on lap one. 

George Russell, on the other hand, made up twelve places from his grid slot to take sixth place at the chequered flag.  Having started eighteenth on the grid after being compromised by traffic in Qualifying, the Briton drove superbly to finish on the track in seventh, before gaining a place thanks to Charles Leclerc’s five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, feels the final stint at the Hungaroring, when Hamilton was able to make considerable gains on the cars in front, showed there was a lot of pace within the W14, but the way they had executed the race meant that the podium finish was just out of reach.

“I think we had the second quickest car today, but the result doesn’t show it,” said Wolff.  “If you look at the lap time profile and George’s progress, there was opportunity for more, but we didn’t monetise it.

“That is obviously disappointing. In the final stint, Lewis reeled in over ten seconds to those ahead and we finished just 1.5 seconds shy of the podium. I think if we had executed our race slightly differently, we would have had that margin.

“We need to analyse and see what we could have done.”

Wolff feels Mercedes are beginning to understand more about their car, but they know they have a lot still to do to close the gap on the dominant Oracle Red Bull Racing team and Max Verstappen, with the team not happy to settle for second best.

“We were far off a pole position at the start of the year, and we’ve started to comprehend the car more,” Wolff added.  “Having said that, Max looked tranquil up front and we’re not here to race for second-best.

“Getting to the front is the objective and of course, that was far off today.”