Lewis Hamilton struggled a lot during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. He spent most of the race in P14, stuck in a DRS train behind Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly.
On the other hand, George Russell managed to improve from his original P11 starting position, to ultimately finish in P4.
After the race Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff gave his perspective on the difference in performance.
“You see that when there is a DRS train like we had in the Sprint race, none of them could overtake,” the Austrian explained.
“It’s really if you’re being boxed in, in a train of cars, it’s just almost impossible to overtake.
“I think Lewis had much more pace than Gasly or Albon or all the other guys in front of him, but there’s one DRS straight, and if you haven’t got the straight-line speed, you can’t pass.
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“I think both drivers are doing the utmost and outperforming the car at the moment.
“We’ve seen that reaping the results for George, who did an outstanding race, a perfect start and then handled a car that was that wasn’t tuned optimally, and Lewis was just stuck there in the back.”
Toto went on to praise Russell who managed to get the best result possible for Mercedes.
“I mean, P4, with [Carlos] Sainz [retiring] and [Charles] Leclerc on the track in P6, that’s probably as good as it gets.
“We had a design failure of our flap adjustment during the pit-stop, so we couldn’t put the wing in that was necessary for his second stint.
“[It took] a few tenths off the pace every single lap, managing understeer, and he did that brilliantly, so again, outperforming the car,” Wolff concluded.