IndyCar and NASCAR icon turned F1 pundit Danica Patrick has suggested that Toto Wolff looks “defeated” as Mercedes continue to struggle against the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.
The Silver Arrows endured another difficult weekend in Las Vegas off the back of a miserable outing in Brazil. Lewis Hamilton was eliminated in Q2 in qualifying and then suffered a puncture after a racing incident with Oscar Piastri during the Grand Prix, while George Russell picked up a time penalty for a collision with Max Verstappen.
Meanwhile, their biggest rivals in the Constructors’ Championship made significant ground with Charles Leclerc snatching P2 from Sergio Perez on the final lap of the race and Carlos Sainz pipping Hamilton to P6. Off the back of that result, Mercedes’ grip on second place in the standings has been cut to just four points ahead of the season finale.
Discussing the state of play at Mercedes with the Sky Sports F1 team, Patrick said: “They’ve got so much better throughout the year, but nothing to show for it. You can sense [that] Toto looked defeated, frustrated, tired maybe. Christian [Horner] was talking about the timing of this event.
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“It’s been a long year, everybody is wearing down. So I’m sure it’s feeling extra heavy to them now, especially when they have bad days. Especially when they get glimmers of hope.”
Things were looking up for the team after they introduced their critical new floor upgrade in time for the United States Grand Prix in Texas with Hamilton pushing Verstappen all the way that afternoon before his unfortunate disqualification, but Mercedes’ hopes of ending the season with a win unravelled in Brazil.
Mercedes will, however, take some confidence into their Abu Dhabi showdown with Ferrari. The track’s characteristics are expected to suit the W14 well, and Hamilton and Russell both showcased some impressive pace in Las Vegas despite both of their races suffering from complications.
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Wolff spoke to Sky Sports F1 about the incidents involving his two drivers after the race. Asked for his verdict on the clash between Hamilton and Piastri, he said: “Not his fault. Sad to say yet another time we had pace but just no result.”
Then turning his attention to Russell, he said: “George after the incident with Verstappen when he got a penalty, that was pretty much game over. Also, he had pace at the front, maybe not [as much as] Max, but it is what it is.”
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