The Mercdes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team endured a tricky qualifying for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah circuit.
Mercedes CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff says:
That’s the second race of the season and another confirmation that we are not where we want to be, and need to be. On Lewis’s side we experimented with a setup that was worse, and the consequence was there was no rear grip and the car became undrivable. For George, I think today was a good effort considering we only had one soft tyre for Q3, so a solid job from him. Nevertheless, the optimum scenario for us today was the no-man’s-land between the Red Bull and Alpine, and that’s certainly not acceptable.
George Russell starts the race from sixth place on the grid with a time of 01:29.104s and speaking following the action he said:
We are one team, and as a team it was not a good day. We don’t have a handle on the car at the moment, it’s been inconsistent and we’re fighting to get it into this very small window. On our side of the garage, we managed to get it just inside that window – I don’t really know why or how – and unfortunately on Lewis’s side they didn’t manage to. When that happens on a circuit like this on a knife-edge, you just don’t have the confidence to push it to the limit. As a team, we’re not here to fight for P5 / P6, we want more and we were nine tenths behind Checo today, so we’ve got work to do.
We know what our issue is and everyone’s working day and night trying to solve it. We know there’s so much lap time on the table, we just can’t tap into it. We will get there, I’ve no doubt. But we’ve got to be patient. We can be grateful that we’ve got such a serious issue, but we are still the third fastest team and that offers so much optimism. If we are still the third fastest and we have so many issues, when we solve them, we should be in a really good spot.
Lewis Hamilton had a disastrous qualifying as he will start the race from 16th place after getting the set-up wrong on his car.
Speaking following the action he said:
I hope Mick is OK, that corner is 170mph and it’s terrifying to see what’s happened – that’s the biggest crash we’ve seen at this track. For me, I struggled with the balance of the car today, the rear end was snapping out and this isn’t where we want to be. We went the wrong way with the set up tonight and the car just wasn’t underneath me for this session. It’s strange because the car was feeling good in FP3 but in qualifying, it was difficult to drive all of a sudden and felt nervous. Everyone is working as hard as they can and trying to stay positive. I’ll try my best tomorrow and see what we can do.