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F1 | After “painful” Azerbaijan GP, Wolff says Mercedes needs to get back to its A-game

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team’s current performances 1 are ‘unacceptable’ if they want to keep alive their chances of beating Red Bull.

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F1 | After “painful” Azerbaijan GP, Wolff says Mercedes needs to get back to its A-game
Fuente imagen: formula1.com

Team Boss Toto Wolff believes his squad has underperformed and needs to get back to its A-game if it really wants to get its hands on the Championship.

Formula One fans are not used to seeing Mercedes struggling so much. The Silver Arrows had two bad races in a row, first in the Principality and then in Baku.

If Lewis Hamilton was struggling in his Mercedes and ended up throwing away victory with a lock-up at the restart after he unintentionally hit the wrong button on his steering wheel; that was nothing compared to the agony his teammate Valtteri Bottas was suffering.

The Finn, who already had a terrible weekend in Monaco, was slow all weekend – and ultimately crossed the line 12th.

Full of frustration, during the post-race conference, Wolff described the Azerbaijan GP as a “painfulexperience.

We’ll have to analyze the data to understand what happened… I don’t know, it is just so overwhelming at the moment”, said Wolff.

"I think there are lots of things that are not running smoothly as they have in the past few years,

"Operationally we are not at our A-game. We haven't found really the sweet spot of the car through qualifying and race, of having a quick qualifying car and a quick race car”, explained the Austrian TP.

"There's just so much that we need to improve, that I just want to get on it right now, after this call, in order to make sure that we are actually able to compete for this championship.

Wolff described the letdown of Monaco, with Bottas forced out and Hamilton failing to finish in the top six, plus the difficulties in Baku, as the biggest challenge since he took over at Mercedes.

Wolff showed concern that the points lost in the last two races could cost the team the possibility of winning the title at the end of the season.

"You can't continue losing points like we've done in Monaco and here. It is just not acceptable for all of us."

"That is the frustration. It is not only the incident at the end, that frustrates. It's overall not meeting our own expectations. All of us together: Lewis, the engineers, myself, everybody in the team."

At the same time, he believes these were the hardest weeks he could remember, he said: "Yeah, they are the toughest. Because not having performance in Monaco, and Valtteri, who would have made it solid on the podium, needing a pitstop of 36 hours, is not really a great achievement, based on the standards that we're setting ourselves.

"Then the car that was almost all sessions [in Baku] nowhere. Then, to be honest, cruising in third and even trying to make it was okay.

"But it's just not acceptable that we are not getting the car into a performant position after the start, or out of the pitstops. It's just we're losing seconds over seconds."

The outcome of the race was ultimately less disastrous than it could appear, as Max Verstappen's retirement did at least ensure the world championship positions remained stable. Yet, Wolff said that the nature of Hamilton's exit in Baku had been especially painful to endure.

"Both of us [Hamilton and him] are destroyed, to be honest," said Wolff. "For him obviously, as a driver, you have it, it's so close, you can feel the victory and then it's all gone.

However, Mercedes TP believes Hamilton’s move was not too ‘risky’, and the driver is not to blame. On the contrary “the move on Perez was totally okay”, commented Wolff, “it was just the brakes were not set to the right position and this is why he missed the breaking point”.

Wolff admitted they had to “readjust the plans for 2022”, but he also hopes the city circuits were just outliers performance-wise.

"We just need to be the best, the best of us, and the best that we have. And we haven't given the drivers a competitive package this weekend. It's been far from a competitive package”.

Toto Wolff said this is not the time for the team to feel sorry about itself, because the season is only at the beginning and everyone will have “to pick themselves up and work hard”.

“We have ten days now to try our best to bring a better package in France.

"The Championship is wide open, we are still in the early days so we’ll make sure the frustration goes and satisfaction comes, concluded Wolff.

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