SportF1Mercedes finds no reason for its performance in France

Mercedes finds no reason for its performance in France

Although they entered the weekend at the French GP with the aim of fighting for victory, Hamilton and Russell stayed further away from the first position than in the last qualifying sessions.

Lewis Hamilton, who will start fourth on the grid, was almost nine tenths behind the man on pole, Charles Leclerc, and George Russell, sixth, finished more than 1.2 seconds behind.

Mercedes director Toto Wolff said his team did not understand why it could not meet its high expectations, and lamented that a series of experiments they have carried out over the weekend have left no answers.

“We were working slowly but surely to get back to the top,” Wolff said of Mercedes’ recent progress.

“There were good positive signs at Silverstone and then we went to Austria, a track where we normally aren’t competitive at all, and we could clearly see those signs of why we weren’t competitive. But we were close. It’s a short track, one minute, and we were three tenths away, which was an acceptable distance.

“But we have brought a pretty good upgrade package to Paul Ricard, the track is flat with no bumps, and we thought we might be on the hunt! But the reality has been that there is no performance. There isn’t. And we can’t understand it.” .

George Russell, Mercedes W13

“We can’t figure out what went wrong. We experimented with the rear wings, from putting on almost the biggest we have in the morning, which Lewis described as having a parachute on the back, to a smaller version, which makes us lose too much speed in the corners. “.

“Then we are experimenting with the tire temperatures. And that’s where the difference with Verstappen is. If they had told me we were going to finish between seven tenths and 1.1 seconds apart, it’s a bit of a slap in the face.”

Mercedes was especially slow on the twisty final sector of the Paul Ricard circuit but didn’t gain much on the straights either, perhaps suggesting the W13 may be aerodynamically lacking.

Asked about the possible explanation for his form, Wolff said: “I wouldn’t know if it’s the aero map per se , but what we’re seeing is that in one session, we went from being not very competitive in the first sector to, in the second session of Q3, to be the best in sector one”.

“Clearly there’s something going on, whether it’s the wind affecting us or something dependent on the tyres, that just isn’t working on our car. The car is on the limit. And between being a hero and being the worst, there’s a super fine margin that we don’t seem to understand.

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