Wolff lauds Hamilton’s ‘mega’ Miami performance as he admits W14 is ‘poisonous’ to drive
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has heaped praise on Lewis Hamilton for delivering a “mega performance” by recovering from a midfield grid slot to bag a solid haul of points during Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix.
Having endured a Q2 exit at the Miami International Autodrome, Hamilton put a hard-medium tyre strategy to good use to rise from 13th to sixth position, capping off the drive with a late move on Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc.
Reflecting on Hamilton’s efforts after the race, Wolff said: “He’s had a mega performance, because when you start 13th with a car that’s really not easy [to drive], then had to plough through the field…
“At the end he had real pace, overtaking the Ferrari. Finishing sixth when you start 13th… It’s a very, very good job that he’s delivered today.”
While pleased with his race result, Hamilton admitted that he is “counting down the days” until Mercedes introduce their highly-anticipated upgrade package at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix next time out.
However, Wolff cautioned that Mercedes need to “manage our own expectations” with the array of new parts, which will arrive at the quarter way mark of the 2023 season.
“I have never in my 15 years in F1 seen a ‘silver bullet’ being introduced, where suddenly you unlock half a second of performance, so I very much doubt that this is going to happen here,” the Austrian said.
“What I’m looking forward [to] is that we take certain variables off the table, where we believe we could have introduced something that we don’t understand in the car, and go more to, let’s say, a stable platform.”
As for Mercedes’ specific aims with the package, Wolff said: “I think we’re chasing downforce and we’re trying to do the best possible job in terms of the mechanical platform.
“What we’re doing is we’re introducing a new bodywork, we’re introducing a new floor and we’re doing a new front suspension – and that’s a pretty large operation, large surgery.”
He added: “The upgrade that we’re bringing is going to help us to set the direction and to understand the various areas that we believe could play a role in why the car is so poisonous to drive.”
Mercedes hold third position in the constructors’ standings after the first five rounds on 96 points, six adrift of second-placed Aston Martin and a further 122 behind leaders Red Bull.