Wolff says Mercedes car 'does not deserve to win'
05 November 2023
Sao Paulo (AFP) -
Team boss Toto Wolff slammed his Mercedes outfit's car and Brazilian Grand Prix performance on Sunday, claiming it was akin to a three-wheeler and 'does not deserve to win' a race this year.
A visibly shaken and angry Wolff said the team's performance in Sao Paulo, where they won last year's race and had hoped for a similar result this year, was 'inexcusable'.
In a race dominated by three-time champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton struggled home eighth and George Russell, the 2022 victor, retired.
'An inexcusable performance,' said Wolff. 'I don't have words for that. That car finished second last week and whatever we did to it was horrible.
'Lewis survived out there, but not George -- I can only feel for the two driving such a miserable thing.
'It shows how difficult the car is. It's on a knife's edge. We've got to develop it better for next year because it can't be that within seven days you finish on the podium as one of the two quickest cars and then you're nowhere near finishing.'
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he added: 'We're clearly not world champions on sprint race weekends. We do some good work on track to get it done, but still it doesn't explain what went wrong.
'That car almost drove like it was on three wheels -- not on four.
'This car doesn't deserve a win. We need to push for the last two races and recover.'
Hamilton, who drove conservatively to preserve his tyres, said: 'It didn't feel as disastrous as yesterday when I literally had no tyres left -- they were worn to zero and I feel like I drove a better race in terms of managing the tyres.
'There are moments it works and moments it doesn't and it's so inconsistent... And we are so slow on the straights and really slow on the corners.'
Ferrari's drivers were also downcast after Carlos Sainz battled to sixth and Charles Leclerc crashed on the formation lap and failed to start the race.
The Monegasque blamed his exit on an issue with his Ferrari engine that affected his steering and hydraulics system, and said he might fly to Lourdes before the next race to try and end his run of bad luck.
'It's so annoying because in the second half of this year I've finally found confidence in the car – and then you sacrifice a whole weekend for the race and you do six corners and that's it!'
Asked about his plans, he added: 'I'm going to go to Los Angeles, but maybe I'll move my flight to go to Lourdes beforehand to get a bit of luck -- otherwise it will be just Los Angeles for a week.'