Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Toto Wolff has denied any suggestion that Mercedes were in conversation with the FIA regarding George Russell’s late overtake on Lewis Hamilton before beating his team-mate in the Miami Grand Prix. Russell placed fifth in Florida on Sunday—one spot ahead of team-mate Hamilton—after a late Safety Car permitted him a timely change of tyres.
A collision between McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly on the 41st lap presented Russell an opportune window to swap the hard tyres on which he’d started. Hamilton’s predicament was trickier considering he’d already opted for a fresh set after 22 laps, choosing to remain on those tyres for the remainder.
The seven-time world champion aired his frustrations with the Mercedes team after his run to sixth, commenting that ‘it’s your job’ to make decisions in such circumstances. The matter was even touchier after Russell appeared to benefit late on when he overtook his colleague to finish closer to the podium.
The Silver Arrows newcomer went off track to pass Hamilton on Turn 11 but was rightly instructed to give the position back. He eventually completed the move legally to move past both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, however, finishing ahead of his fellow Mercedes driver for the fourth straight race.
Lewis Hamilton may get wish granted as Miami GP boss speaks out after F1 and FIA talks
“There was no dialogue with the FIA and I think that is how it should be,” Wolff replied when asked if there had been conversation with the sport’s adjudicators in regards to his drivers. “It is the FIA coming back to us and saying, ‘They need to change position.'”
Although there were clearly other factors at work, the Miami result has once again highlighted the driver debate at Brackley. Both Russell and Hamilton have encountered serious issues with the W13 design, but it’s the former who appears to be handling the car better.
Wolff and his team have been hard at work attempting to resolve the porpoising issues that have plagued the vehicle for months. Even with more disappointment for Hamilton, however, the Austrian insisted the W13 is fast despite being “super-difficult to drive.”
“It’s clear that there is potential in the car and she’s fast. But we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential,” he said after Sunday’s result. “It is a car that is super-difficult to drive and on the edge of dipping in and out of the performance window – more out than in.”
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