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Wolff searching for answers after Mercedes' disastrous Baku practice

Wolff searching for answers after Mercedes' disastrous Baku practice

F1 News

Wolff searching for answers after Mercedes' disastrous Baku practice

Wolff searching for answers after Mercedes' disastrous Baku practice

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded the team is already pinning its hopes on its race pace as it seeks answers to its disastrous lack of pace for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The team had a terrible practice in Baku on Friday, with Lewis Hamilton 0.7 seconds slower than Max Verstappen’s pace-setting Red Bull in the opening session and more than a second off Sergio Perez’s top time in FP2.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valterri Bottas claimed there was “something fundamentally wrong” with the car after setting an even slower pace, 1.7s off in the opening session and two seconds down in FP2.

Wolff agreed and conceded: “You can clearly see from the lap times there is something fundamentally wrong and we are trying to tune the car so it actually functions but we haven’t been able to do that.

“We knew that Monaco and Baku are not tracks that suit us. Most of the layout there is no fast corners. It’s all stop and go, it’s all 90-degree corners or more tricky Monaco style, so it was always clear that it would be difficult for us.

“I believe we have a good racecar, so there’s ground to recover on Sunday and then learn. It is what it is. We’re trying to go as fast as possible with the kit that is available.”

Mercedes' issues may not be track specific

Mercedes suffered its most difficult weekend of the season at the last round in Monaco, with Bottas qualifying third and retiring with a wheel nut issue and Hamilton starting and finishing a disappointing seventh.

The team undertook a detailed debrief after that race but Friday’s performance left Wolff concerned that the issues could run even deeper than just the ‘unique’ track types experienced in the last two races.

Asked if all will be well again once F1 moves on to more traditional tracks, Wolff said: “You can never make that assumption because neither Red Bull nor Ferrari or any other team sleep.

“There’s good people and that’s why if we say now it’s going to be all ok in France and in Austria that you can fall flat on your nose.

"It’s about learning here and trying to understand why these types of tracks don’t suit us because that will help us on the more regular tracks.”

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