Chastening Sunday in São Paulo for the team
- Lewis Hamilton finished eighth whilst George Russell was forced to retire from Sunday’s São Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos.
- Lining up P5 and P8, both Lewis and George made strong starts; Lewis vaulting into P3 and George P6 before the red flag flew for a first corner incident.
- On the restart, and having taken another set of used Soft tyres, Lewis lost ground and dropped to P4 whilst George gained one position to run in P5.
- After that promising start though, it soon became clear that the W14 did not have the pace to fight those ahead or resist some of the faster runners behind.
- Both drivers stopped twice more and kept a major focus on tyre management. They took the Medium compound for their middle stint before switching to another used Soft tyre for the final portion of the race.
- Unfortunately, George wouldn’t see the chequered flag. He was having to deal with rising Power Unit temperatures, and they would ultimately force his retirement.
- Lewis meanwhile ran a lonely race in P8 to bring home a handful of points for the team.
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I feel like I drove a better race today than I did yesterday, in relation to how I was managing the tyres to the best of my ability. It’s difficult to say why we struggled so much this weekend. There are moments with this car when it works and others when it doesn’t. It’s very inconsistent throughout the lap and we need to figure that out. Today, we were slow on the straights but still sliding through the corners, so it was difficult. We will go away and look at things to find out what we should have done differently. It was a day to forget but hopefully there are lots of learnings from it too. I am also so proud of everyone in the team. They are still working as hard as they can and holding their heads up high. That’s what we have to continue to do and we will keep pushing to improve.
We obviously got something very wrong this weekend. We’re not sure what that was yet but the pace just hasn’t been there. You clearly don’t go from a podium-worthy car to one that is one second off the front, so it’s been very strange. We thought yesterday may have been a one off, but it clearly wasn’t. We were sliding the tyres and I think the performance we showed was the maximum we had with the car the way it was. In the end, we were suffering from high oil temperatures in the Power Unit and that caused us to retire. That topped off what was a difficult day. We need to now get back to the factory, regroup, and work through what we did to get on top of it before the final two races of the season.
Today was clearly a very poor performance. This car finished on the podium last week in Mexico so whatever we did to it here did not work. We are not usually at our strongest on sprint weekends, but that doesn’t explain how challenging this weekend was. Lewis survived out there to take P8 whilst George was forced to retire. I can only feel for them having to drive something so difficult today. The car is clearly on a knife-edge the whole time and we need to ensure we develop that out of the car for next year. We also need to push hard for the final two races of the season and recover. That is the most important thing now heading to two very different tracks in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
We were very limited in what we could change on the car between the sprint and the Grand Prix today. Effectively, it’s just the front wing angle and any electronic settings the driver can make from the cockpit. As such, we knew it would be difficult to make much of a step in performance, but we were always going to give it a go.
The starts were generally good. Unfortunately Lewis got past by Alonso into turn four on the second, but it was clear that we didn’t have the pace to race them today. It was very much a case of hanging on from there. The drivers were having to manage tyres and deal with a lack of top speed. Towards the end we retired George as an issue on his cooling system was causing temperatures to slowly go out of control.
Clearly, we’ve got something very wrong with the setup. We’ve had the pace to fight for podiums in the recent races and today we were barely able to fight for points. We’re obviously disappointed and we will work hard to understand and fix what we got wrong this weekend.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team