Toto Wolff has described Mercedes’ performance at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix as “inexcusable” after both drivers plummeted down the order over the course of the 71-lap race at Interlagos.
Lewis Hamilton was third on the grid when the race restarted on lap four after an early red flag, but ended up eighth at the finish as he struggled with tyre degradation and an inability to defend position on the straights.
His teammate George Russell, ran as high as fifth place at the start, was one position behind Hamilton when he retired due to an overheating power unit 14 laps from the finish.
The disappointing result came one week after Hamilton secured a second-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix and two weeks after he crossed the line in second at the U.S. Grand Prix only to be disqualified for a technical infringement.
Asked to explain what happened in Brazil, Wolff told Sky Sports: “Inexcusable performance. There are not even any words for that.
“The car finished second last week and the week before and whatever we did to it was horrible.
“I can only feel for the two of them driving such a miserable thing.”
Mercedes was at a loss to explain its lack of performance after the race on Sunday, despite experiencing a similar struggle during Saturday’s sprint race in Brazil.
The car was running a relatively high-downforce rear wing at Interlagos, which Mercedes hoped would provide performance in the corners and help protect the tyres from degradation. Ultimately it did neither while also adding to the car’s drag level and lack of speed on the straights.
“It shows how difficult the car is, it is on a knife’s edge and we have to develop that better for next year because you can’t be that within seven days you are finishing on the podium solid and quickest car — probably one of the two quickest cars — and then you are nowhere and finish eighth,” Wolff said.
“I think straight-line speed was one issue but probably not the main factor. The main factor was we couldn’t go round corners with the bigger wing and the pace we needed — and were killing the tyres, eating them up within a couple of laps.”
Mercedes has yet to win a race this season and if it fails to do so at the final two races it will be the team’s first year without a victory since 2011.
“This car doesn’t deserve a win,” Wolff added. “I think we need to push for the last two races and recover — I think that is the most important thing — and see what we can do in Las Vegas, a totally different track, and Abu Dhabi. But the performance today was … I am just lacking words.
“We do some good work here on track to get it done, but still it doesn’t explain what went wrong. I mean the car almost drove like it is on three wheels not on four.”