July 23, 2024

Mercedes had anticipated competing against Max Verstappen in Brazil, but their performance on Saturday served as a concerning wake-up call.

After a terrible sprint race at Interlagos, Toto Wolff asserted that Mercedes would not experience a “magic scew” to turn things around and perform better before Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes, who had won their only race of the 2022 season at Interlagos, had hoped to challenge Red Bull and Max Verstappen for the win this weekend in Brazil. However, the Silver Arrows were rudely awakened on Saturday.

Russell and Hamilton qualified in the top five and moved up to P2 and P4 after the first laps, but as the sprint race went on, both drivers lost ground to their near rivals.

When the checkered flag flew at the Interlagos circuit on Saturday, Russell finished in P4, while Hamilton fell behind Yuki Tsunoda and Charles Leclerc to finish in P7.

“I think we pushed very hard at the beginning, the car was not balanced right, and then you put in some sliding and it just killed the tyres,” Wolff said, reflecting on a miserable afternoon for the Silver Arrows on Sky Sports F1.

That’s what occurred in Mexico for George. We had a somewhat underpowered back end, in my opinion, and it’s clear that they’re hanging on by a thread. It was a brutal day, but perhaps something we should learn for tomorrow—trying to maintain the pace.

“I don’t believe that everything can be fixed by turning a magic screw. Everything today worked against us, and it was really hot. We must truly put a lot of thought into what we can do better and for tomorrow.”

Hamilton was especially depressed following his unsatisfactory P7 result in Brazil. After the race, he said in an interview with Sky Sports F1: “It was awful. It was really not fun at all.

“I had a good start and then after that just struggled with the balance. A lot of understeer, then snap oversteer, and I was just fighting the car from very early on. Then I had no tyres in the end. I don’t really know how I’m going to fix that for tomorrow.”

Mercedes’ race pace put them somewhere between Aston Martin and AlphaTauri on Saturday, meaning Hamilton and Russell will have their work cut out to move forward on Sunday.

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