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“I don’t think we can be satisfied with this weekend” – Mercedes’ Toto Wolff

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team‘s Toto Wolff is, understandably, disappointed with the outcome of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after suffering an early retirement on Lewis Hamilton‘s side of the garage, and finishing a decent fourth place with George Russell – but a long distance away from the leaders in race and single-lap pace.

The Belgian Grand Prix started off well when Hamilton was able to jump Sergio Pérez at Turn One and challenge Fernando Alonso on the run up the hill. However, after misjudging a move around the outside as a result of Alonso being in his blind-spot, Hamilton would make wheel-to-wheel contact with the Spaniard and launch the rear of his car into the air at Les Combes.

The Briton pulled over in the third sector, retiring from his first race this year as a result of the damage, leaving Russell as the only hope at a good result at the high-speed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Russell had a relatively lonely race, finishing fourth after trying his best to catch Carlos Sainz Jr up for the final podium place in the dying laps of the race. Wolff is not happy with the gap to the dominant Oracle Red Bull Racing as the Silver Arrows prepare to race at Zandvoort next Sunday.

“I don’t think we can be satisfied with this weekend – if you see Verstappen, he has leaped above us all. We really need to find out how we can improve our car because the gap is just too big.

“We’re giving the drivers a very difficult car to drive and it hasn’t got the pace on a single lap so we need to work ourselves out of this situation. Over the next four days, we’ll be putting our heads together, setting our sights on the next race and also next season.

“It’s important we stay level-headed, keep our spirits up and don’t flip too much between elation and depression – this weekend is a low but in Hungary three weeks ago, we were thinking we will absolutely win a race, so we’ll never give up,” Wolff concluded.

“Whilst it seems that Ferrari are closer to us on race pace, Red Bull are clearly not” says Andrew Shovlin

Trackside Engineering Director at Mercedes, Andrew Shovlin, says that Mercedes’ updates have not helped at reducing the gap to Red Bull, though, progress is being made in their battle against Scuderia Ferrari as the team try to resolve the issues they have been facing at certain tracks on the calendar.

“Well done to Max and Red Bull, he was in a different league today and would have won from anywhere on any strategy. It’s a bit of a shock how far ahead he has been this weekend; we’ve clearly got more work to do than we thought, fingers crossed he isn’t this fast around every track!” says Shovlin.

“George drove good stints through the race and had better pace than Carlos, he’d just taken a bit too much out of the tyres in the final stint to make a pass. Lewis was unfortunate to be out of the race so early after a strong start. He’d not seen where Fernando was positioned turning into turn 5 and caused himself an early retirement; we’ve not yet got the car back but hopefully there’s not too much damage.

“The weekend overall has been tough. We’d hoped to move forward here with our updates and whilst it seems that Ferrari are closer to us on race pace, Red Bull are clearly not. We have struggled with the various compromises the car has here, much more so than the races leading into the summer break and that’s definitely made our lives more difficult.

“In many ways that has given some useful learning, the car isn’t yet performing well enough over a range of tracks so it’s clear we need to widen the working window. We were also poor on the single lap which is another area we have to focus on; with a bit more track temperature today, the warm-up was much better but it’s been a recurrent issue over a range of conditions and circuits, and something we have to improve.

“We’ve got a couple of days to regroup and plan for Zandvoort, it’s got some similar challenges with very fast corners so hopefully we can make a bit of progress having analysed the data from this weekend,” the engineer concluded.

Mercedes are currently forty-one points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, and will be hoping for better performance in upcoming races in order to take second place in the championship.

Credit: LAT Images

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