The Mercedes team had expectations of a good performance in Brazil, but in practice experienced an extremely difficult weekend at the Interlagos circuit. Lewis Hamilton finished eighth in the Grand Prix of Sao Paulo, while his team-mate George Russell did not make the final at all. Toto Wolff said after the final that he felt incredibly sorry for his drivers because the team gave them such a difficult car to drive.
“Nothing changes on the car from Saturday to Sunday, so I knew we had a tough race ahead of us. In the sprint I just “ate” my tires with this unexpected lack of speed. I think in the race I drove better, but we were just slower,” commented Hamilton.
“I guess the floor isn’t working. The floor didn’t create the necessary downforce and only made us put the higher wing. On the straights we have huge frontal drag. We waste so much time there that there is nothing else we can do. We skated in the turns. We definitely have to look into what happened,” Hamilton continued
“There are times when this car works, other times it doesn’t. Even in one lap the behavior is erratic and we must understand why. It was another day we want to forget, but I hope we at least learned something. I’m proud of everyone on the team. People work tirelessly and do not give up,” added Hamilton.
Overheating of the oil was the cause of Russell’s exit from the race.
“It’s been an extremely confusing weekend, I don’t know how to make sense of it. We had relatively high expectations, and we found ourselves without any pace. The car has been the same for the last five races, so we’re doing something wrong with the tires. And in a sprint weekend, you can’t fix a mistake made at the beginning,” was Russell’s summary.
“So many questions… The car is the same car I drove in Austin, and there was podium speed there. Even before that – in Singapore, Qatar – there was also a pace to finish in the top 3. It’s imperative that we understand what we did wrong, because right now we’re not at all clear.”
“Our choice of settings with a bit more aero downforce made us sitting targets on the track. Basically, with more aero compression, the idea is to gain speed in the corners, to protect the tires, and that didn’t happen with us. There were no upsides, only downsides,” Russell added.