Mercedes: We could stand on the podium today

Author of the article: , published April 7, 2024

Toto Wolff is confident that his car could have fought for the podium in the Suzuka race if they had not had problems with the hard tires in the first part of the race.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton put white rimmed hard tires on their car during the stoppage due to the accident of Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo, although they started the race on medium hards. Mercedes hoped to change tactics to finish the race with just one stop, but when the race resumed, Russell and Hamilton were too slow, so they changed strategy again and made another tire change.

Russell overtook Oscar Piastri on medium hard tires in the closing laps of the race and finished seventh, while Hamilton failed to finish higher than ninth. "We finished this tough race where we started," said team boss Wolff after the race, revealing that before the start they had hoped to fight for the podium. "In the second and third stints we were super fast and we would have managed to fight for the podium if we hadn't lost as much as we did in the first. We need to find out what went wrong, whether it was too hot or we were too careful.”

Hamilton was unhappy with the tactics after the race, as he had to use hard and once medium hard tires in the race, while Red Bull and Ferrari were able to offer their drivers two sets of medium hard and one set of hard. “I don't know how a different tactic would have worked out if we had stayed on the medium hards at the start, but we only had two sets of terrible hards left. I think I did some damage on the race car when Charles (Leclerc) overtook me on the outside. The race car was quite understeer in all the corners so I let George go ahead. The hard rubber was pretty bad, but the medium hard was better. If I could do it over again, I would have preferred two sets of medium tyres, but overall the car was very bad today.”

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