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F1 | Wolff: Mercedes’ pace deficit to Ferrari and Red Bull “unacceptable”

Toto Wolff made it clear that he and the entire Mercedes team think its gap to rivals Ferrari and Red Bull in 2022 so far is “unacceptable”. He also dismissed claims that George Russell’s had the measure of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, citing “unlucky” moments for the seven-time champion.

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F1 | Wolff: Mercedes’ pace deficit to Ferrari and Red Bull “unacceptable”
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - MotorLAT

Mercedes has endured a tough season so far in 2022. With seven races down, the team’s best result so far is a 3rd place finish, with both drivers. Its issues were mainly focused on the porpoising phenomenon, which hurt the team’s ability to get the car in its correct working window.

A raft of aerodynamic upgrades introduced in the Spanish GP last month seemed to have resolved most of the team’s problems, with Lewis Hamilton making an incredible comeback from P19 – after his clash with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap - to get the chequered flag in fifth place.

This left many wondering if Mercedes was back on its desired pace, but just a week after in Monaco, the team had a mostly disappointing showing, similar to its earlier struggles in the year.

Speaking to media – including MotorLAT – after last Sunday’s Monaco GP, Toto Wolff was clearly disappointed and explained why Mercedes is settled in third place for now pace-wise, regardless of track-specific characteristics:

“The problem is that we can say ‘well, this is a track where it’s going a little bit better’ like it was in Barcelona, or a track that is worse like here in Monaco. I think we are the third team. We’re not second and we’re not fourth. We have two extremely strong drivers, but it is a huge annoyance for all of us that the gap is about the same (to the front),” he said.

Wolff made it clear that the pace gap the team has to its main rivals at the moment, even when looking “optimistically” at it:

“If you are looking at it optimistically, five tenths. If you’re looking at it pessimistically, more than eight tenths. And that is, clearly, for all of us at Mercedes, not acceptable.”

George Russell has shown signs of having more pace than Lewis Hamilton in 2022 - Image by Hasan Bratic - MotorLAT

And while they might not be fighting at the very front of the grid, the internal fight between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell has caught the attention of many so far, as the young Briton in what is only his fourth season in F1, is already leading his more experienced and seven-time champion team-mate in most situations. This, according to Wolff, is due to “unlucky” situations working against Hamilton, and he hopes “the pendulum will swing” soon:

“When you look at the bad spells that Lewis (Hamilton) had – I mean, look at the (Monaco GP) – stuck again with Esteban (Ocon), stuck behind Fernando (Alonso), the red flag in qualifying, and then you know what happens in races before. I think the pendulum will swing so that these unlucky situations stop with Lewis.

“They’re very much on the same pace – one practice one leads, and then the other one. And that is great, how they work together to get our car straight - because we need to get our car straight.”

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