Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had admitted that Mercedes is losing time in several corners after a difficult qualifying session for tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The Brackley-based team struggled to match Red Bull’s pace, with Lewis Hamilton only managing fourth on the grid and over three tenths down on pole-sitter Max Verstappen whilst Valtteri Bottas managed fifth on the grid ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.
In a post-qualifying media session that included Motorlat.com, Wolff revealed which corners Mercedes was struggling with as well as issues with Pirelli’s C5 compound of tyre.
“We are losing time in Turns 1, 3, 4, and you couldn’t even pinpoint one or two corners that are responsible, just tiny bits everywhere. So I think that the C5 tyre is somehow something that we struggle with in terms of performance; you can see that McLaren and Lando seem to be going really well on that specific compound, and we struggled on the C5 compound in qualifying too.”
“Nevertheless, the gap to Max isn’t shocking. It's just that over the whole lap, we’re struggling to somehow find lap time, so there's no silver bullet that we could have as an answer but simply that we need to up our performance in every single area, not just the chassis but the PU too.”
Mercedes also announced the first half of their driver line-up for 2022, with Hamilton being kept on for another two years, which will see him race in Formula 1 until 2023.
The speed of the deal is in stark contrast to the winter of this year when Hamilton was only announced to drive for Mercedes with a month to go before pre-season testing in March, with Wolff explaining why Hamilton’s deal was an easy one to negotiate.
“We just negotiated, the winter seemed like yesterday and all the important points (of the contract) we already discussed, so it was basically a copy and paste and where we would extend the term to two years beside the formal detail of how we wanted to run our joint foundation and that was pretty much it.”
“It was the obvious choice (to extend his contract by two years) three years is such a long time, and one year is too short as you have to sit down and negotiate again.”