‘A humbling experience for Mercedes’
After a second disastrous race, Mercedes has been left agonising over its biggest crisis since it began dominating Formula One.
For the first time since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes failed to pick up a point on Sunday as Valtteri Bottas limped in 12th in Azerbaijan while reigning champion Lewis Hamilton crawled home 15th. In the previous race, in Monaco, Hamilton was seventh and Bottas did not finish.
“We can’t continue losing points like we did in Monaco and here. It’s just not acceptable,” team principal Toto Wolff said on Sunday.
Despite its lack of speed compared to Red Bull, Mercedes only missed out on victory in Baku because of a slow pit stop and a braking error by Hamilton when he was trying to regain first place at the end.
“A humbling experience,” said Hamilton on the team website. “It’s one of the toughest moments I’ve had for a while —one moment we had all the points and the next we had none but for sure, we’ll regroup and come back.”
Wolff was visibly more emotional than usual in a video press conference after he race. He said that he and Hamilton were “destroyed”.
“It’s really painful…we had one hand on the trophy and Max was not scoring any points.
“It is not only the incident at the end that frustrates, it is overall not meeting our expectations, all of us together — Lewis, the engineers, myself, everyone in the team.
“It’s the frustration that dominates. For him, victory was so close and then it was gone. For me, as a leader, we just have to be the best we can be.”
“In Monaco and here we didn’t have a car that was competitive, full stop. We have underlying issues —we are not getting the car in a happy window for the tyres. We know the deficit and we know we have gaps which we simply have to overcome,” Wolff said.
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