Although Lewis Hamilton would appreciate a “one-second upgrade” from Mercedes at the next race in Imola, Toto Wolff has warned it won’t even be worth half a second.
Mercedes had an unpredictable weekend at the Miami Grand Prix where the “nasty piece of work” W14 went from recording a 1-2 in FP1 to the team narrowly avoiding a double Q2 elimination in qualifying with George Russell scraping into the final segment by 0.052s.
The car “came alive”, as Hamilton put it, in the grand prix with Russell crossing the line in fourth place while Hamilton recovered from 13th on the grid to finish P6.
The team-mates, though, were 33 and 51 seconds down on race winner Max Verstappen with Hamilton declaring he needs Mercedes’ Imola upgrades to bring at least a second per lap to the car.
Alas he concedes that’s not what he’s going to get.
He told Sky Sports: “Well, it’s a bit of an unknown. It’s not like I have a one-second upgrade coming, which is what I need.
“But it’s something. It’s a step in the right direction, hopefully, for us to really be able to progress.”
In fact his team boss Toto Wolff doubts the team’s first “major” upgrade of the championship will even be worth half a second.
Calling it a “good new baseline” from which the team will “continue to develop”, he told Sky Deutschland: “We have to be careful that we have our expectations under control.
“I don’t think we’ll get there and suddenly we’re half a second faster and in the middle of a fight. We won’t.
“But we are now laying a new foundation and at least taking some issues off the table that we believe are contributing to us being too slow. Let’s see what that brings.”
Russell has also tempered expectations with the Briton acknowledging the enormity of the team’s deficit to Red Bull with even the Aston Martin in the hands of Fernando Alonso faster than the W14.
“There is a lot of expectations on Imola,” said the 25-year-old, “but at the end of the day, we finished 30-odd seconds behind the leaders today and we still finished quite a bit behind Fernando,” Russell said.
“I am sure it is going to take a step in the right direction, but it is not going to transform things. Let’s hope it does.
“The car is a little unpredictable at the moment so hopefully it exceeds our expectations in the next race, but it is going to be a long journey.”
Mercedes remain third in the Constructors’ Championship with 96 points, their deficit to Red Bull having grown to 128 points with the Milton Keynes squad’s fourth 1-2 result of the season in Miami.