From a 1-2 in Friday’s opening practice to narrowly avoiding a double Q2 elimination on Saturday, Toto Wolff has labelled Mercedes’ W14 a “nasty piece of work”.
Despite kicking off the Miami Grand Prix weekend with a 1-2 in the opening practice hour where George Russell was ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes were aware by the end of Friday’s running that they were in trouble.
Falling a second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in FP2, Hamilton called it a “kick in the gut” and admitted there “isn’t just one” specific area where the car was struggling.
24 hours later it had gone from bad to worse with the Briton out of qualifying in Q2, the seven-time World Champion down in 13th place.
It was almost a double elimination for Mercedes with Russell sneaking into Q3 by 0.052s. He went onto qualify in sixth place but was still a second down on pole-sitter Sergio Perez.
Worryingly for the Mercedes team-mates, Wolff admits the team has no idea why the car is slow.
“It’s worse than I ever thought it would be,” he said as per Racingnews365.com.
“Because we are 12 months on since we were last in Miami and the car is just marginally better, maybe it’s not bouncing on the straights, but it’s the only thing that is better than last year.
“The car is not fast enough, and we haven’t got any comprehension on why that is.
“We’re P1 and P2 in one session and in the next it’s P6 and P13. It’s just not acceptable.”
Facing a tough task to score more than a couple of points in Sunday’s race, Wolff was asked what he could say to encourage Hamilton.
“The problem is there’s nothing left to say because the car is just simply not fast enough,” he said, “and putting him in a situation on his out-lap where the drivers aren’t able to prepare their their tyres makes it just even worse.
“Obviously nobody makes a mistake on purposes and we’re trying to give him the best position.
“We have in the past got it wrong many times and got it right many times. Today for George and Lewis that really went south and you can see in his first sector that the car simply wasn’t there.
“I take no enjoyment from finishing sixth, or eighth, or seventh. And even if it was fifth I took no enjoyment either because it’s a lack of comprehension of what it is that makes this car such a nasty piece of work.”