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Toto Wolff Q&A: It was a fantastic race - just not for Mercedes

26 Jul 2015

Nothing went right for Mercedes in Hungary on Sunday, with a string of mishaps converting a front-row lock-out into only sixth place for Lewis Hamilton and eighth Nico Rosberg. It was the first time in 28 Grands Prix that a podium failed to feature a Silver Arrows driver. So where did it all go wrong? Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff fielded the post-race questions…

Q: Toto, is frustration the prevailing mood at Mercedes after that race?

Toto Wolff: Yes - I think in English they call it a cr*ppy day in the office! (laughs) Today we’ve had more incidents in one single race than at all the previous races put together. And if you have such a bad start - and that’s not for the first time - then you get pushed into a corner that you definitely do not want to be in. And then the unhappy situation between Nico and Lewis - and I would really call that an unhappy situation - then you are on the road from bad to worse.

Q: Mercedes occupied the front row, with Lewis having a more than comfortable gap over the field in qualifying - and then it all went wrong. Why?

TW: Yep, it was a botched start - and that was the second time in a row! We had a lot of wheel-spin - and that we didn’t have at the pre-start. Now we have to analyse why that all happened.

Q: Why were Ferrari so strong at the start?

TW: Today it was Ferrari - at the last race it was Williams. Probably they look so good as we didn’t make a great impression.

Q: Mercedes have practiced ‘Spa-starts’ to be ready for the changes that will come into effect there. Wouldn’t it have been better to practice ‘Budapest-starts’?

TW: Yes, we’ve been practising Spa-starts on Friday. Probably we’ve traded the future for the present. You always should live in your time - we’ve probably that experienced today. 

Q: Today Mercedes leave the track as the clear loser…

TW: That word has not really a space in our vocabulary! So don’t mention it! (laughs) First and foremost I want to congratulate Ferrari for their win. They’ve had the fastest car today - for sure at the start of the race. And, of course, you don’t feel fantastic seeing somebody else walk away with the laurels, but for the fans it was a fantastic race - even if this one went against us.

Q: Can you tell us what happened to Lewis: His race weekend was like a fairytale that turned into a nightmare…

TW: Yes, it was a nightmare for him, but a good day for Formula One - unfortunately just not for us. But that’s racing - and as I just said, sometimes you have a cr*ppy time in the office. Sometimes that goes for a whole team.

Q: But then when did you lose Nico’s race? He was in a promising position and at one point looked set to take the lead in the championship…

TW: Nico struggled on the soft tyres at the beginning - then we put the prime on. It was a very unlucky situation for a tyre change: you put the tyres under the pot to heat in case you have an accident and have to pit - and because it was 28 or something laps to the chequered flag the prime tyre was still under the pot and when the virtual safety car came out. He was three corners from the pit lane entrance then, so we called him in - and the only tyre available that very moment was the prime tyre. If he had done a lap under the virtual safety car then we would have switched from the prime to the option as his final tyre - but you have to live with your decisions. We will enter this race in the books as our contribution for a sizzling race. Don’t expect us to do this more than once! (laughs) We will do anything to get back to where we’ve been.