Toto Wolff admits Lewis Hamilton plan for Australian GP has ‘massively backfired’

Prior to the Australian Grand Prix, Mercedes carried out their plan to “experiment” with their F1 cars in practice, but team manager Toto Wolff acknowledged his team didn’t achieve the desired outcomes.

During the Australian Grand Prix practice, Mercedes’ strategy for Lewis Hamilton “massively backfired,” leaving Toto Wolff frustrated.

The Silver Arrows wanted to make the most of their practice time in Melbourne after a sluggish start to the new campaign. On the eve of the action this weekend, Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin stated that the team would “experiment” in an effort to fully realize the potential of the W15.

Over the course of the two practice sessions on Friday, Mercedes executed that strategy, but the outcomes weren’t what they were hoping for. George Russell moved at a respectable pace, but Hamilton started FP1 only ninth and finished the day in 18th place.

Wolff, the team principal, appeared irritated as he considered the day. “We’ve accomplished an experiment, but we haven’t unlocked performance,” he declared.

“I believe that we made a really drastic setup adjustment with Lewis during the second session, and it has completely backfired. However, this is the reason we are holding these meetings; additionally, things went a little better. However, our performance is inadequate for more than one lap. It wasn’t a good day all around.

It would be untrue if I claimed not to be frustrated. Yes, we are, given how hard we’re trying in every direction, but it doesn’t appear that we’ve yet discovered the magic bullet that will allow us to proceed in the correct direction.

“But we have to keep trying because we’ve seen this car’s performance in the past, and we have everything we need to get above that. I don’t want to go back and say we’re just not good under these regulations. And we’ll do so.”

Hamilton’s chances of finishing on the podium at Albert Park this weekend seem dim given his struggles to get his car set up correctly. However, Russell felt much happier at the end of the day and ready to build on his relatively good start to the new campaign.

“We’re pushing the limits – had a few moments here and there but all under control, in the end,” he said following practice. The world appears to be quite tight. I believe that two tenths divided ten cars in the first session. FP2 was a little more dispersed. Our final two corners were a little off, but other than that, we were on track for a great lap.

“From the start, I felt fairly at ease outside. We’re still working to better understand this car, but we made some adjustments based on feedback from Bahrain and Saudi. We’re learning more and more about it and attempting to get it into the sweet spot because every lap is so valuable.

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