Toto Wolff has agreed with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell that the team cannot fight near the front in today’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola. The Mercedes team principal claimed the weekend was a ‘complete write-off’ and has warned fans to not expect a miracle.
The Austrian said this would go down as ‘another humbling experience’ for the team who will start 12th and 14th this afternoon.
Wolff said: “I think points scoring needs to be the minimum but this is not where we set our expectations and therefore this weekend is a complete write-off. You can say that we are trying to learn but we weren’t great with tyre warm-up and that is why there is not a lot that we can really [do].
“There is no miracle that you can expect at the race start. And because the overtaking is so difficult – we can make up positions, we showed it on Saturday – but not quickly enough and therefore beyond the fact that we are learning, it is another humbling experience.”
Mercedes weekend started poorly on Friday as both Hamilton and Russell were knocked out of Q2.
READ MORE: George Russell echoes Lewis Hamilton pessimism after Imola sprint
The pair dropped a place each at the start of Saturday’s sprint and were then stuck behind a train of cars for the majority of the race. It means Russell will start the race from where he qualified in 11th with Hamilton a place lower in 14th.
Hamilton cut a frustrated figure after the sprint race while the seven-time champion also wrote off any chances of securing his eighth crown. The Briton claimed all the team was aiming for at this stage was to ‘improve and progress’ throughout the campaign.
He said: “This is the situation that we’re faced with but, everyone’s got their head down, everyone’s working as hard as they can. We’re obviously not fighting for this championship but, we’re fighting to understand the car and improve and progress through the year. That’s all we can hope for right now.”
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Saturday’s results mean Mercedes drop to third in the constructors’ standings while Russell moves to third. The Mercedes rookie also played down expectations of a shock Mercedes comeback this afternoon,
He said: “I think strategy is going to be key and we’re going to have to do something different to our competition and that will give us an opportunity to fight and move up the grid. I’m sure we will understand more tonight but it’s going to be tricky.”