Confused Toto Wolff vows Mercedes car is fast but hints at more Lewis Hamilton woe

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Toto Wolff has insisted the new Mercedes cars are fast but says the team needs to “unlock the potential” following the team’s torrid start to the season. Lewis Hamilton appears to have suffered most, with his sixth-placed finish in Miami on Sunday leaving him on a modest total of 36 points from four races. During the race, tensions were apparent as he argued with his team over strategy.

New team-mate George Russell has fared better though, finishing in the top six of every race so far as he sits fourth on 59 points. However, it’s undeniable that the Silver Arrows remain way off the pace set by front-runners Ferrari and Red Bull.

Indeed, Hamilton has already written off any chance he has of fighting for an unprecedented eighth world championship. And any hopes Wolff and co have of retaining the constructors’ title, a crown they have captured for eight straight seasons, already appear remote.

The Austrian admits it’s a situation the team have not been accustomed to in recent years, and also concedes the problems can’t be fixed immediately: “We have been straight from the beginning,” he told reporters after the race in America. “We are flying in the fog a little bit.”

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Wolff however, argued against the notion the W13 cars lack pace: “It’s clear that there is potential in the car and she’s fast. But we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential,” he continued. “It is a car that is super-difficult to drive and on the edge of dipping in and out of the performance window – more out than in.

“And dissecting the data with a scalpel is just a painful process because it takes very long and the data sometimes doesn’t show us what the drivers tell us. They have their hands full with a car that is not comfortable or nice or predictable to drive but the data doesn’t show these big swings.”

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Wolff, 50, has previously labelled Hamilton’s car “undriveable,” although the F1 legend did appear to make minor gains in pace over the weekend. However, he’s unlikely to be in the mix for a win in Barcelona in two weeks’ time.

And it seems the driver himself isn’t the only one struggling to fathom what is going on: “We haven’t had this situation before in any of the years that it didn’t correlate what we see on the screens with what the driver feels and that is making it even more difficult,” added Wolff.

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