Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff attributed Lewis Hamilton’s string of qualifying setbacks to George Russell to “experiments gone wrong” on the Hamilton side.
Hamilton has been beaten 5 times in 8 races by Russell in qualifying in 2022, with a two-tenths advantage for Russell in Q3 at Baku, marking the third consecutive time he has beaten the seven-time world champion.
Wolff clarified tonight that the pair were still using slightly different specs from the W13 in qualifying.
“Lewis tried some pretty experimental parts on the car, and there was a different floor solution on his car that didn’t work. The car was porpoising more and more and sinking to such a degree that it became unsafe and couldn’t extract the performance, so yeah, it was a different spec.”
Asked about the fact that Russell has beaten Hamilton in each of the last three qualifying sessions, he puts it into perspective.
“I think it’s too early to try to identify a pattern – I’m very close to it and I see in one session one is faster and in the next session the other is faster. “
“And because the car is on a knife edge, if you get it wrong in terms of the experiments on the car – which have to be done for us to actually learn how to perform well – there are two to three tenths immediately between that. And yes, the last three races, those experiences went wrong with Lewis and not with George.”
Wolff explains that Mercedes were taking a more experimental approach to race weekends as deepening their understanding of what has so far been disappointing F1 is currently “more important than individual results.”
“At the moment we are not looking for a victory on merit. We are far behind the best teams. And we just need to understand and that is what we are doing and what we are going to do tomorrow too. racing and in Montreal next time.”