Wolff on Mercedes qualifying performance: One to put in the toilet

After a stellar showing in Brazil, Toto Wolff admits the team had a qualifying session to forget at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team must quickly move on from their disappointing performance in qualifying for the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, though he’s confident their pace will improve on race day.

Just one week after finishing 1-2 in Brazil, the Silver Arrows never really posed a threat to Red Bull at Yas Marina. The Milton Keynes outfit were the class of the field as Max Verstappen took pole ahead of Sergio Perez, with both Ferrari cars slotting in behind them on row two.

As for Mercedes, they had to settle for fifth and sixth. After the session Wolff admitted they failed to deliver after focusing more on the setup for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

“That’s one to put in the toilet,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “I think we just didn’t get the job done.

“I think we went backwards and they [Ferrari] did a little step forward. We went on a high downforce, high drag concept in order to have a good race car tomorrow, and it was just so slow on the straights that it didn’t give [us] anything.”

When asked whether the team gave any thought to splitting setups on both of their cars, Wolff said the team’s decision was done with tyre deg in mind.

“We had the belief that for tomorrow it’s so much better to have more downforce to protect the tyres,” said Wolff. “Let’s see.”

No issues for Hamilton

At one point during qualifying Lewis Hamilton told Mercedes they must fix their braking issue, with Wolff revealing it’s something the team have been dealing with for quite some time.

“We have this odd brake split situation that during every qualifying session they start the lap and the brakes split, which means the left is not doing what the right does and it unsettles the car in braking,” said Wolff.

“One for the winter? A big one for the winter.”

Adriano Boin
Adriano Boin
Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1 and Ferrari.
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