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Mercedes continued to have a difficult start to the season with George Russell finished fifth at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, while fellow teammate Lewis Hamilton recovered from his first Q1 knockout in nearly four years, to secure one point in P10.
After crossing the 10th position, Hamilton asked Mercedes engineer Pete Bonnington if there was “even an award to that position”.
A seven-time champion claimed following the race that Mercedes was “still way off” Red Bull and Ferrari who clinched the top four spots in both qualifying and during the race.
Mercedes F1 director Wolff said after the race that , while the battle for the lead in the race between Red Bull and Ferrari was positive for F1 overall but to not be a in it after having won the constructor’s title for eight straight crowns was a challenge for the team.
“We were at the center of all those exciting games at the front, and we were talking about our role as an F1 stakeholder and enjoying the spectacle which is truly amazing to behold,” Wolff said.
“But to the contrary hand it’s very painful to not participate in these games that are fun and to be slowed down by a large substantial amount of laptime loss.
“We’re never going to take a break until we’re back in the game. You’re right, it’s not a lot of fun. It’s an exercise in humility and will help us grow stronger over time even if it’s difficult to watch right now.”
Toto Wolff Team Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Mercedes AMG
Photo taken by Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Mercedes is currently 40 points in the gap to Ferrari in the constructors’ title and is only one point ahead from Red Bull, who failed to score a point in the Bahrain season opener.
The basis of Mercedes’ problems lies in the extremely porpoising that it has to endure when it comes to the W13 vehicle, which came to light during preseason testing and has still not properly addressed or remediated.
Russell stated after the race that porpoising was the cause of “99 percent of our problems” and that the team was taking “baby step” to address the issue.
Wolff was hesitant to say what Mercedes could be compared with Red Bull and Ferrari once it had resolved the issue because the team had yet to see the full extent of what W13 could be capable of.
“We’re not operating the car in the way we want to,” Wolff said. “Therefore it’s difficult to determine the gap in lap times is if we were to drive the car at a lower speed.
“I really hope that the gap will be larger than we’ve experienced in the past. However, there are always deficits.”
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