Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 ‘back on track’ after labelling car ‘a s***box to drive’ in Baku
“Lewis, we all know that this is a bit of a s***box to drive at the moment… we will sort ourselves out.” That was Toto Wolff’s post-Azerbaijan Grand Prix message to Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time champion finished P4, over a minute behind race winner Max Verstappen – with Wolff backing his technical team to get on top of Mercedes’ struggles.
Mercedes suffered a return of their porpoising issues in Baku, with George Russell qualifying 1.353s off the pace in P5, as Hamilton ended up a further two-tenths back in P7.
Come the race, although Russell finished on the podium P3 following a double Ferrari DNF, as Hamilton drove an attacking race to claim P4, the Silver Arrows were never truly in the fight at the front – with Wolff saying the ball was now in Technical Director Mike Elliott’s court to continue searching for solutions.
“I think we are looking at all possible solutions under the leadership of Mike Elliott – he’s a really strong Technical Director,” said Wolff. “There are no holy cows, everything is being looked at and we will for sure bring the car back on track. If things can’t be sorted out in the short-term because they are conceptual, for sure they will be sorted out in the next couple of months.”
Meanwhile, Wolff debunked the idea that Hamilton had been frustrated at driving an experimental set-up direction on the W13 in Baku when the question was put to him, saying: “No, he is absolutely in the driving seat here.
“All the decisions that have been taken between him and his engineering team are great, in the sense of sometimes it goes wrong. He’s had a car that was more than a handful today. And these experimental directions, [they’re] very good, they are good for us to progress as a team.”
Wolff went on to praise the resilient efforts of both his drivers, after Russell took his third podium of the campaign – Hamilton having podiumed at the season opener in Bahrain – with Mercedes just 38 points adrift of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, and Russell having maintained his record of finishing every race this year in the top five.
“[George has been] very solid in bringing top positions in; he’s been on the podium a few times and Lewis has been [as well],” said Wolff. “When your car is not super-competitive with the front guys, maximising those points is important to make sure you consolidate in third. But equally, you see the situation with Ferrari – if they drop the ball often, we are there.”
Constructors' standings post-Baku
|1 Red Bull Racing||279|