Mercedes seemed to suffer from a drop in performance after the summer break. Not only did Max Verstappen dominate the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, but he was also around 2 seconds faster than both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in qualifying.
Team principal Toto Wolff says he can’t be satisfied with that.
“I don’t think you can be satisfied with Verstappen being in a league of his own,” the Austrian told Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“We need to really find out how we can improve our cars, the gap is just too big. That’s just the reality, I think we need to accept that.
“The car is very difficult to drive and hasn’t got the pace on a single lap, so we just need to work ourselves out.
“There will be lots of sticking their heads together. Setting the sights also on not only the next few races, but also next season.
“I hope that [at] a track that would suit us more, we are more competitive, but we mustn’t be too much between depression and mania.
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“Today would be all the reason to be depressed, but in Hungary three weeks ago, we were thinking: ‘Yes, absolutely, we’re going to win a race so we’ll never give up.”
Later Wolff later said that Mercedes couldn’t explain why their car was “sub-par” in qualifying, but was at times 3 seconds a lap faster than McLaren and Alpine in the race.
“There are big question marks about what is going on. It is not where we should be with the structure and the knowledge to understand a racing car, but we don’t with this one.
“We still have the ambition to win races this year. If I would have told you that in Budapest, you would have said ‘Well, that’s pretty possible’, whereas today saying that I look like a fool.
“But there are some race tracks that will suit our car much more than now. Hopefully, we’ll get it right next Saturday, so that is the ambition whilst at the same time giving it a big focus on next year.
“Finishing second or third [in the constructors’ championship] makes no difference to me, but in saying that we want the best race result every week to build confidence,” Wolff concluded.