Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s other major issue at Mercedes has been identified by David Coulthard as the team failed to make up any ground in the Imola sprint race. The team has blamed most of their issues on the porpoising problem which has plagued the team all season.
Russell’s car was seen bouncing around in qualifying with team principal Toto Wolff calling the car ‘undriveable’. However, Coulthard has warned the Silver Arrows were also struggling from a lack of power compared to some of their rivals.
He suggested it was this power advantage which played a crucial role in Mercedes’ fightback from bad situations last season. But with a lack of straight-line speed, the Silver Arrows is stuck racing in a group of midfield cars.
Speaking on Channel 4, he said “What they’ve enjoyed in the past is not only been a great race car but they’ve had a sizeable power advantage as well. So if you’ve got a car that works well and you’ve got good straight-line speed, you go racing.
“Remember Lewis Hamilton coming from almost the back in Brazil right through to top three by the end. It was a masterclass in how to overtake in a Grand Prix.
“They don’t have the straight-line speed now so they’re slow in the turns and they’re neutralised even with DRS. So when they have a bad qualifying like they did yesterday, they’re then in a situation where they are racing with that group.
“They’ve got no fightback at the moment.” Russell and Hamilton started 11th and 13th for the sprint after both drivers were knocked out in Q2.
It was the team’s worst qualifying performance since 2012 but the sprint race provided a chance to move back up the field. But, the pair were stuck in a train of cars with Russell finishing where he started and Hamilton dropping one place to 14th by the chequered flag.
After the race, Toto Wolff also confirmed the team did not have enough of a performance advantage over the cars they were racing.
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He said: “What we saw today was a car without enough of a performance differential to the midfield cars to make the overtakes. If we were running in free air, the picture would be similar to previous races where we moved forward but behind the cars in a DRS train, the car didn’t have enough performance to make progress.
“Point-scoring needs to be the minimum for tomorrow and we know that isn’t anywhere near our expectations, so it’s a humbling experience. We understand our problems, we have a direction to unlock the potential that is within the car to bring us much closer to the front but at the moment, we don’t have the key.”
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