Toto Wolff laments ‘bruising’ day as Mercedes weakness returns in Brazil

Sam Cooper
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes secured P2 in the Constructors' standings, but also their first winless season since 2011.

Toto Wolff lamented a “bruising” day for Mercedes after an excellent start was followed by them being overtaken by multiple competitors.

Both Silver Arrows cars enjoyed a great start to Saturday’s sprint, no more so than George Russell who moved past pole sitter Lando Norris into P2 early on.

But whatever pace they found in the opening stages soon went missing as the W14 failed to make good ground on Sao Paulo’s long straight.

No ‘magic screw’ to fix Mercedes problems says Toto Wolff

As the race went on, Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton became the proverbial sitting ducks with Norris first moving past Russell before Hamilton was left to fend off a multitude of rivals.

By the chequered flag, Hamilton was in P7 and Russell in P4, 12.262 seconds behind P3 Sergio Perez.

Team boss Wolff lamented the sprint showing, suggesting they had got the balance of the car wrong.

“I think we pushed very hard at the beginning,” he told Sky Sports F1. “And the car was not balanced right. Then you get some sliding and it just killed the tyres which is what happened to George in Mexico.”

Asked exactly what caused the lack of balance, Wolff highlighted one particular area as the problem.

“I think we had a little bit too weak of a rear end. Then obviously it’s balancing them on the knife’s edge. Then trying to hold on to the pace was maybe something we need to learn for tomorrow, but a bruising day.”

Wolff did agree a wing tweak could produce better results for Sunday’s race, something that is allowed under Parc Ferme conditions, but also said that was no “magic screw.”

“I don’t think there is a magic screw that you can turn and then everything is fixed. It was very hard, everything went against us today. We need to really scratch our heads hard for what we can do for tomorrow and improve.”