Lewis Hamilton finished in seventh place, followed closely by his teammate George Russell, at the Red Bull Ring. Despite the efforts of the seven-time champion, he ended up 39 seconds behind the dominant Max Verstappen. Verstappen‘s lead may have been even greater if he hadn’t made a late pitstop to secure the bonus point for the fastest lap. Hamilton faced difficulties with his car’s balance and also received a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff even radioed Hamilton, urging him to stop complaining about his W14.
This result comes after Mercedes introduced a radical upgrade for the Monaco Grand Prix, which resulted in a double podium in Spain and a third-place finish for Hamilton in Canada. However, the team was caught by surprise as their performance at the Red Bull Ring was substantially worse than expected. Russell admitted that the drop in performance was unexpected and said that the only significant difference was the tires, which indicates that there is a need for further understanding.
Russell expressed his disappointment, stating that the car didn’t feel as they wanted it to and was moving around a lot. He believed that the pace was significantly worse than they anticipated. The young driver also mentioned McLaren‘s Lando Norris and Aston Martin‘s Fernando Alonso, who finished ahead of the Mercedes duo. Norris’s performance in particular was a big surprise for the team.
Toto Wolff described the outing as “bruising” for Mercedes. He acknowledged that they couldn’t make the car quick and realized from Friday onwards that they were lacking pace. The swings in performance among different teams have been interesting to observe, with one weekend Mercedes challenging Red Bull, then Ferrari, and now Aston Martin. Wolff acknowledged that it was a tough race for all involved when the car lacked inherent pace and suffered from issues ranging from understeer to oversteer.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring. Despite their recent successes, the team struggled to match the pace of their rivals and faced unexpected challenges with their car’s performance. They will need to thoroughly analyze their performance and make the necessary adjustments to regain their competitive edge in future races.