‘The car was unmanageable’: Mercedes boss apologized to Hamilton after a ‘terrible race’ for the Englishman

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* Toto Wolff’s apology to Lewis Hamilton after the race

Not even the most accurate specialist could imagine the ordeal he is going through Lewis Hamilton in this season of Formula 1 with a Mercedes W13 who does not respond to English and with the aggravating circumstance that after four dates he was overtaken by his brand new teammate, George Russell. This Sunday the seven-time world champion suffered the race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix run at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Autodrome in Imola, Italy, where Max Verstappen won.

The 37-year-old Englishman missed the third and final qualifying cut by posting the 13th fastest time. Then in the sprint race he was 14th, the position in which he started in the main race in which he fought with drivers from the middle of the pack; this time his rival was Pierre Gasley (Alpha Taurus). Lewis could barely finish 13th, and in an impossible scene in 2021, Verstappen (his great rival for the title last year) took a lap out of him in the end.

While Russell finished fourth and within the total turns. The young man who has been part of the Mercedes structure for years and in fact replaced Hamilton at the end of 2020 when he suffered from COVID-19, in 2022 he replaced Valtteri Bottas and in the overall performance of these first four dates he achieved better results: 4th, 5th, 3rd and 4th against Hamilton’s 3rd, 10th, 4th and 13th, whose only podium in the start played in Bahrain came for the delays of the Red Bull drivers.

In good times and bad, the selfie with Hamilton is always there (REUTERS / Jennifer Lorenzini) (JENNIFER LORENZINI /)

Although the German team’s W13 did not follow the path of its predecessors who won eight Constructors’ Championships in a row (something unprecedented until 2021), can there be so many differences between the two cars? It may happen that Hamilton’s driving style does not suit this new car, but also that the team does not give him – within the difficult context – a car that at least allows him to advance in the peloton.

The decline in the performance of the Lewis monoposto was recognized in public, live and directly by the boss and shareholder of the German team, Toto Wolff. After the race, in the traditional lap of honor given by the runners who are greeted by the banderilleros and the public, the team-manager spoke with Hamilton:

toto wolff: “Lewis, hello, I’m sorry for what you had to drive today, I know that this car is undriveable and it is not what we deserve, the points and the result. We’ll get through this, but this was a terrible race”.

Lewis Hamilton: “Yes, don’t worry, Toto. Let’s keep working hard.”

toto wolff: “Yes, we will recover from this.”

Hamilton is seventh in the championship (REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane)
Hamilton is seventh in the championship (REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane) (GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE /)

The problem that the Mercedes car posed in 2022 was the conception of the pontoons, which are the elements that go to the sides of where the driver is located. They have a pronounced undulation and the air intake is not good and generates turbulence in the rear wheels, loss of traction and speed. The decrease in airflow accentuated the rebound effect that for now the German squad could not find a way around. In addition, Ferrari and Red Bull are one step ahead, especially the Italian team with its combustion engine, which for now is the one with the best performance of the season.

However, Russell has weathered the situation better so far, although it was clear that the team is not giving the best car it can to Hamilton and Wolff’s testimony was blunt. It was not a consolation or an apology from an engineer, but from the strongest man in the German team.

But the issue did not stop there. Already in the boxes, in the usual mandatory press conferences attended by the riders who did not get on the podium. There the English also said his thing in dialogue with DAZN F1.

Ask: “Hello Lewis, difficult race. We have seen that even though your pace was higher than Gasly’s, overtaking was very difficult”.

hamilton: “How? even if the rhythm was what…?”

Ask: “Yes, with Gasly, it was difficult to overtake, every time you got close it seemed very difficult”.

hamilton: “Practically impossibleUnfortunately”

Ask: “How do you feel about the car, Lewis? Because we heard Toto apologize on the radio for the car.”

hamilton: “It’s hard, it’s hard

Ask: “And what do you expect for Miami?”

hamilton: “Not much”.

Hamilton did what he could and was 13th (REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane)
Hamilton did what he could and was 13th (REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane) (GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE /)

The British continued with the request with other means and affirmed that “at least George (Russell) got some points for the team today. So I apologize to everyone for not being able to do it”.

“I think the team is … like I said, everyone is feeling it and everyone is putting their heads down, doing their best,” he said. “So no one is giving up and everyone is trying to move forward as quickly as possible. Tomorrow I will be at the factory to work with the boys and see what we can improve”, concluded the Englishman. passed 18 races in which he did not finish behind the top ten, since Azerbaijan 2021, not counting his retirement in Italy after the clash with Verstappen.

In tune with the limitations posed by Hamilton, his opponent for 12th place, Gasly, when asked if it was difficult to contain the Englishman, replied: “Well, I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was not very difficult”.

In two weeks Hamilton will have his revenge in the United States, at the premiere of the Miami Grand Prix. Although it is unlikely that there will be an improvement in the operation of the car. It would be in Spain, on May 22, where Mercedes would present its development in the car.


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