Toto Wolff pinpoints key reason behind Mercedes struggles at British GP

George Russell could only qualify in sixth, with Hamilton seventh for the 2023 British GP

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Toto Wolff believes Mercedes’ pace struggles are down to a lack of pace in high-speed corners after George Russell and Lewis Hamilton only qualified sixth and seven for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

With cooler temperatures and rain forecast for Saturday, Mercedes had been hoping for a turnaround in fortunes after a pair of challenging Friday practice sessions.

However, despite continued support from a boisterous home crowd, both Mercedes drivers failed to make the top five for the first time since May’s Monaco GP with Russell qualifying sixth and Hamilton seventh.

“I think we qualified behind the two of them, and that’s the reality when you look at the gaps,” said Wolff to select members of the the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “We’re talking 1000’s [of a second] up and down [the grid].

“Today’s probably the day the racing gods [were] against us. We just have to keep the pace up in development.

“We’re pretty much on par with the Red Bull until Turn 12-13, and then we’re losing it through the two high-speed [corners] on the exit of Becketts.”

George Russell duding 2023 British Grand Prix practice | Mercedes F1 Team / LAT Images

Mercedes customers earn praise

Although Max Verstappen stretched his run of consecutive pole positions to five, McLaren enjoyed a great qualifying, with Lando Norris qualifying second ahead of teammate Oscar Piastri.

McLaren’s sudden burst of form follows on from another Mercedes customer Aston Martin’s excellent start to 2023, with Fernando Alonso finishing on the podium six times in the first nine races.

“​​I think it’s very encouraging to see Aston Martin found massive chunks of lap time from last year to this year,” said Wolff. “In the same way, you see that within the season [with McLaren].

McLaren [are] doing that, and that is something you need to take your hat off to if they are suddenly fast. [It’s] a good example of how you can turn [fortunes] around.”

New F1 film will benefit sport as a whole

As well as hosting the F1 circus this weekend, Silverstone has become a film set for a new movie based around the sport.

Actor Brad Pitt has been spotted at Silverstone all weekend along with a fictional 11th team, ApexGP conducting filming scenes on track and in the paddock.

“We’ve seen the benefits of the Netflix series Drive to Survive [has had],” said Wolff. “Now you see Brad Pitt, Jerry Bruckheimer, and all these mega people making a movie about F1.

“We know that this is going to translate into our brains benefiting from it and income and visibility of F1 overall [in[ trying to accommodate [the new film and] that’s what we’ve done.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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