Former driver refutes Toto Wolff’s claims Mercedes had the ‘second quickest’ car

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton in the middle of a Max Verstappen and Lando Norris sandwich. Hungary July 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the middle of a Max Verstappen and Lando Norris sandwich. Hungary July 2023

Ralf Schumacher has refuted Toto Wolff’s claims the Mercedes was the “second quickest” car in Hungary, the former driver saying actually it was “slow”.

Hamilton spent yet another weekend looking at McLaren’s rear wing with the Briton’s pole position ruined by wheelspin that meant he was overtaken into the first corner by Max Verstappen with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris promptly following him through.

Dropping to fourth place, Hamilton tried to run with the McLarens, first Norris and then Piastri after the first round of pit stops, but he kept losing time.

‘For me, the Mercedes is still too slow’

“How have they got nine seconds all of a sudden? That’s a crazy amount,” he asked over the radio as they scampered off in to the distance.

Speaking to the media after bringing his car home in fourth place, 39s down on race winner Verstappen, Hamilton admitted that in “reality” Mercedes are “not fast enough.

“We have a lot of work to do. We’re a long way off from beating the Red Bull in a race and now we’re behind the McLarens so we’ve got to keep pushing.”

Schumacher agrees, saying it wasn’t his start that cost Hamilton a podium result, it was the pace of his W14.

“For me, the Mercedes is still too slow – especially when you look at the DRS and how difficult it is for them to overtake,” he told Sky.

That isn’t Mercedes’ only issue with the former F1 driver saying they dropped the ball with the strategy with Hamilton one of the last to pit on Sunday.

On the other side of the argument though, Hamilton had fresher tyres in the final stint on low fuel and came within two seconds of chasing down Sergio Perez for the podium.

“They tended to stay out a little too long and ultimately couldn’t use the tyres anymore,” Schumacher stated. “It can also have something to do with the fuel, if the car gets lighter it can work much better. It was striking that Lewis Hamilton was able to gain a lot of pace in the end.” recommends

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But while both Hamilton and Schumacher believe the W14 was just too slow, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says it was the second fastest car on the grid, Mercedes just didn’t capitalise on that.

“I think we had the second quickest today but the result doesn’t show it,” he insisted. “Now you can say, you know, in theory we have the second quickest car but we didn’t monetise on it today.

“And that’s disappointing. We got to find out how we could have done that better.”

He did, however, accept that Mercedes perhaps ran too long before pitting the drivers.

“I think we were too careful in bringing the laps in,” he said. “I think after the stops we lost a lot of time, and it paid off towards the end of the stint because we were much quicker than everybody else.
“But it’s always a balance. And I believe the balance was a little bit too much in terms of bringing them in.”

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