Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the German outfit underwent a “tough” debriefing with Lewis Hamilton after the Briton’s disappointing performance in qualifying in Monaco, admitting it had not gotten things right.
Hamilton will line up seventh on Sunday’s grid, four spots behind teammate Valtteri Bottas following a Q3 session in which he was never a threat, and which left him 0.749s behind pacesetter Charles Leclerc.
After the botched session, Hamilton said he would hold some “tough discussions with his Mercedes engineers “behind closed doors” and address his underperformance.
“There’s things that should have been done and haven’t been done. But we will learn from it and come together, stronger in the next race,” Hamilton said.
Speaking after the debrief, a candid Wolff admitted that his team had not held up its side of the bargain regarding the tyre warm-up issues that are currently weighing on Mercedes and Hamilton’s performance.
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“We just had a very productive and tough debriefing, and those are exactly the days where we learn the most,” Wolff said.
“This team has a brutal honesty and transparency within itself, and we didn’t get things right. It’s not completely clear yet how all the tuning possibilities were interacting with each other.
“But I would generally say that we were not having enough grip in each of those runs. And probably linked to tyre temperature.
“Again, we need to analyse that, but one thing is for sure, all of us together, we were not competitive.
“We didn’t provide Lewis with the right car to build up the confidence and based on a good gripping car that he would like to have.”
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Wolff justified Bottas better performance in Q3 by the Finn’s ability to get himself in “a better window” with his tyres and by his cleaner runs in Q1.
“When you’re able to clock consecutive good times like in Q1, then things are coming together easier,” Wolff said.
“So overall, all of us together, we haven’t done a good enough job today.”
Hamilton’s criticism of his team while subdued was nevertheless surprising. But Wolff insisted that he had no issues with his driver’s frankness.
“When you’re finishing P7 in Monaco, you know pretty much that’s potentially the end of the weekend, and then venting your frustration is absolutely OK,” Wolff said.
“Nobody in the team takes it the hard way, because we express it the other way around too. He’s the first one to acknowledge and apologise when things go wrong. He’s done that in public and privately.