Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff promised a thorough review after Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix turned into the former champions’ worst race yet of the 2023 Formula One season.George Russell started third on the grid but was 17th at the chequered flag while seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton lined up 13th, but on different tyres to everyone else, and finished sixth.
The eight points scored marked the first time this season that Mercedes had failed to take at least double figures from a weekend.
Last year Russell had finished second in Zandvoort and Hamilton fourth.”I think we stayed out catastrophically too long (in the first stint),” Wolff told Sky Sports television.
“We got it completely wrong. And that’s annoying because the car had really pace.”Then it was just (about) recovering as good as we could.”Rain at the end of the first lap forced a flurry of pitstops but Mercedes got their timing badly wrong and Russell was 19th by lap 13 after stopping for intermediates and wondering what had happened to the podium he was predicted.
The Briton fought back and passed Lando Norris for seventh place after the race was halted and re-started, but contact with the McLaren driver left him with a puncture that scuppered his chances.”I’d rather have a fast race car and a mediocre result even if it hurts,” said Wolff.”We saw at the end on the inters George had (Red Bull race winner) Max (Verstappen’s) pace and Lewis was very strong behind (Ferrari’s Carlos) Sainz…It’s still bittersweet because the result is just really bad.
“We will review thoroughly. The situation is never one person or one department… that was absolutely subpar from all of us and that includes me. It’s good when it hurts. When it stings, it sticks.”