Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team struggled at Baku after the team finished the race with no points and Valtteri Bottas finishing P12 and Lewis Hamilton P15, despite having been P2 right until the last two laps. Toto Wolff has described himself to be “so angry”, as the Silver Arrows’ points-scoring streak stretching back to the 2018 British Grand Prix came to an end after an “unacceptable” drop off in performance from the team.
Hamilton produced a shocking turn to Mercedes’ Friday pace woes in qualifying, ending up P2, while at the Lap 50 race restart, after Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s retirement from the lead and red flag, he lined up on second on the grid, behind Mexican driver Sergio Perez.
However, by hitting a button that shifted his brake balance at the standing start, Hamilton ploughed on at Turn 1 after initially getting a better getaway than Perez, leaving him to finish 15th and provide further sorrows Mercedes’ horror day.
“I’m so angry,” said Wolff. “[But] have no doubt. This is a team that is so strong… that we’re going to transform the anger into a positive force. We’re warriors and we’re going to come back.
“[What Lewis did] can’t be called a mistake,” added Wolff, “It was just when Sergio came over… he touched a button and the brake balance changed, the brake balance went all the way forward and then obviously the car doesn’t stop.”
“In Monaco and here, we didn’t have a car that was competitive, full stop,” said Toto Wolff, whose team have scored a measly seven points in the past two Grands Prix. “[In Baku, we had] a car that was almost all sessions nowhere.
“To be honest, cruising in third and trying to make it was okay, but it’s just not acceptable that we’re not getting the car into a performance [window] at the start or after the pit stops – we’re losing seconds over seconds to get the car in a happy window where it functions. It just takes too long.”
Asked, meanwhile, as to whether or not these had been the hardest weeks that he’d experienced as Mercedes Team Principal, Toto said that “Yes, they’re the toughest… We must bring our A-game to fight for this championship, and our car was not there all weekend. Operationally we just need to perform faultlessly and all of us haven’t done that the last two weekends.
“It just feels painful, You can say we had the hand almost close to the trophy because Max didn’t score, but I don’t know – the emotion of frustration is just so overwhelming at the moment.”