Mercedes had another confusing session at Las Vegas Grand Prix Qualifying, where George Russell qualified in P4 and Lewis Hamilton in P11 (they will start the race from P3 and P10 respectively, because of Carlos Sainz’s penalty).
Afterwards, team boss Toto Wolff said the reasons for the difference in performance are not completely clear.
“It remains a mystery,” Wolff said.
“Having the tyres in the right window. You can see the difference. We already saw that in Free Practice 3. Very difficult to understand.”
After Quali, Lewis told his race engineer that he “couldn’t go faster”, and Toto explains why.
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“Yeah, because he didn’t have any more grip. We are really talking about four or five degrees of temperature difference between grip and no grip.
“You can see some teams – the McLarens – who play in the front and are out in Q1. And the Ferraris put in stunning laps, both of them half a second ahead of everybody else.”
As for Mercedes’ chances in the race, Wolff said:
“The graining wasn’t good on our car but we ran at a different time in FP3 – very early on a slippery track. I think Verstappen and Leclerc are going to be very fast.
“We just need to manage it and be patient until the worst part of the tyres have gone,” the Austrian concluded.