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Mercedes director Toto Wolff described the performance at the Brazilian Grand Prix as the worst since the team returned to Formula 1 in 2010 and said it would lead to further changes. Lewis Hamilton finished eighth, more than a minute behind winner Max Verstappen, while George Russell had to retire with engine trouble. Mercedes cars were slower not only than Red Bull, but also McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Alpin.
“Unforgivable and unacceptable performance. We’re a solid team but we didn’t look like one. Personally, for me it’s the worst weekend in 13 years in Formula 1. The development of this car was about fixing something that wasn’t right to begin with, and that’s why the car is so unpredictable, it goes from one extreme to the other. We’re going to have a completely different car next year and this race shows that’s the right thing to do. I feel terrible and I wish we could start the new season with the new car. This car doesn’t deserves to win. We have to try to recover for the last two races, but how we looked here – I’m speechless,” said Wolff.
The poor performance in Brazil came after two races in which Mercedes appeared to be closing the gap on Red Bull. Hamilton was second in the US before being disqualified, and in Mexico he also finished second, this time in a road-legal car.
“It’s confusing. From being really fast, with a balanced car and smiling drivers, to this nightmare. How is that possible? I wouldn’t be surprised if the analysis in the coming days shows that there was a technical problem,” Wolff added.
Hamilton predicted that Red Bull will have no competition in the coming years: “All I can do is try to stay optimistic. But Red Bull is so far away. I think they will probably be absolutely ahead of the rest in the next two years.”