SportF1Mercedes describes its Saturday in Imola as "failure" and...

Mercedes describes its Saturday in Imola as "failure" and "humiliating"

During qualifying on Friday, Mercedes missed out on Q3 for the first time since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix, with George Russell taking 11th and Lewis Hamilton 14th.

This meant that the team had to minimize damage on Saturday in the first sprint race that gave points to the top eight finishers, but it seemed like a very complicated task due to the performance of the W13.

While the Silver Arrows outfit hoped to benefit from the weekend format and come back for a better position on Sunday, everyone in the paddock was surprised that they made no progress in the 21-lap sprint at Imola.

Russell finished where he started, while Hamilton lost a position to Yuki Tsunoda. That is why the boss of the Germans, Toto Wolff , admitted that it was a “complete failure”, and another “humiliating experience”, as his pilots suffered in the middle of the pack with the DRS.

“You can say ‘well, we’re trying to learn’, but we weren’t very good with warming up the tyres, so there’s not much that can be done,” said the Austrian. “You can’t expect a miracle at the start, because overtaking is very difficult.”

“We can recover positions, we have shown it, but not quickly and therefore, whatever we are learning, it is another humbling experience,” Wolff acknowledged.

Russell explained that Mercedes was also lacking top speed to make the most of Imola’s only DRS zone, which would allow it to climb up the grid after several faster cars had poor Fridays.

“These sprint races are complex, I don’t know how the rest went, but it seemed like a procession from where we were,” said the Briton. “The race is not long enough to have some degradation and see some differences between drivers and cars, but we have work to do.”

“I think the car is quicker, although we still don’t have the straightline speed to go forward, and here you have the small corners to limit overtaking opportunities, so that slowed down our progress,” he said.

“The strategy is going to be key, and we are going to have to do something different from our rivals, that will give us the opportunity to fight and move up the grid, I am sure that tonight we will understand a little more, but it will be difficult” , he continued.

“Clearly it’s been a tough weekend for us, and we’ve probably gotten more than we had in the first couple of races,” said Russell. “This weekend we will be where we deserve to be.”

Hamilton , for his part, explained: “There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, but this is what it is. We haven’t done well this year, and everyone is working as hard as they can to correct it.”

“We are not fighting for the championship, but we are fighting to understand the car and improve throughout the year, that is all we can hope for right now,” said the seven-time world champion.

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