Horror Show For Mercedes At Albert Park

Horror Show For Mercedes At Albert Park
Horror Show For Mercedes At Albert Park

Both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton failed to finish Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

A tough weekend for the team saw Lewis retire with a Power Unit failure and George suffer a race-ending accident on the penultimate lap.

George had started the race from P7 on the Medium, with Lewis lining up P11 on the Soft.

Both drivers gained positions on the opening lap and pitted for the Hard tyre on laps seven and eight respectively.

Unfortunately, Lewis’s race ended end shortly after as he suffered a Power Unit failure.

The resulting Virtual Safety Car allowed the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso to jump ahead of George, and with a sizeable gap.

Over his remaining two stints, George closed the deficit and, having stopped a few laps later, used fresh rubber to pressure Alonso for P6.

As he fought to pass, he suffered an accident at Turn 6 on the penultimate lap resulting in a double DNF.

George Russell

‘I’m OK after the accident fortunately. I don’t really know how to explain what happened. I was half-a-second behind Fernando (Alonso) 100 metres before the corner and then suddenly he came back towards me extremely quickly. It was clear that he braked earlier than he had done on previous laps and then got back on the throttle. I wasn’t expecting that, and it caught me by surprise. I hit the wall and had a dramatic few seconds after that.

‘It was a disappointing end to a difficult race. Our pace wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We showed spells of good lap times but ultimately we’ve got work to do to catch those ahead. We will be focused on how we can make improvements ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time.’

Lewis Hamilton

‘My race was going OK up until the point we suffered the Power Unit failure. It’s quite tough to overtake here but we had gained some positions early on with the Soft tyre. It was unfortunate that we had to retire as there was still a long way to go. I was beginning to press on, but the Power Unit just stopped. These things happen and I know we will bounce back.

‘We will also improve the car as the season goes on. We have done so in previous years, and I am confident we will do so again. It is tough that we are not as competitive as we would like at the moment, but we will keep working hard. I am focused on doing that with the team. In the short term, I expect we will still find it difficult to challenge further up but we will see what we can do in the medium term.’

Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO

‘That was a disappointing race to end a difficult weekend. After taking a brave decision to start on the Soft tyre, Lewis had made good progress initially. Unfortunately his race came to an end shortly after. We will send the Power Unit back to Brixworth and investigate what caused the failure. For George, it was clear that Alonso braked earlier than he had on previous laps. It is now with the stewards to determine what caused that. Nobody feels positive about where we find ourselves right now, but we are focused on turning this around. It is tough to take but we will remain calm and composed. We have seen others who have shown that when you get it right, things can turn around quickly. That is what we are aiming to do.’

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

‘That was a very disappointing end to a tough weekend, with a significant amount of accident damage to remedy ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time. We went into the race hoping to make progress forward from our grid positions: with Lewis, that involved starting on the Soft, which helped him gain positions on the opening lap, and George on the Medium. Lewis’s race was cut short by a sudden and unexpected Power Unit failure; we had no warning of it and will need to investigate further when the PU returns to Brixworth. For George, he knew he had to complete two long stints on the Hard and find the right balance between pushing the tyre and stretching out its life. It was clear that we were unable to fight with the three teams in front, and he was racing for P6 after Alonso had pitted under the VSC for Lewis’s retirement and gained track position. George had an opportunity to get the place back on the final stint and was clearly caught by surprise by the unexpected deceleration in front on the penultimate lap.

‘It has been a bruising weekend for us, during which we were unable to compete on a single lap or the long runs, and we will be continuing to trawl through the data in the coming days, to see what isn’t working and why we are only currently able to deliver flashes of performance from the car. It’s clear that we have much to work on, to give both drivers a better tool to work with at the race weekends. We now need to get our heads down, work through the challenges one by one, and aim to deliver a stronger showing next time in Suzuka.’

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