2023 Brazilian GP shocker beyond Mercedes’ ‘wildest dreams’

Toto Wolff slammed Mercedes' performance in Brazil as their worst since 2010.

Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed that the Silver Arrows entered the recent Brazilian Grand Prix expecting to be “troubling the podium”, not struggling for a top-10 finish.

The Silver Arrows were abysmal at Interlagos, 12 months on from their famous 1-2 where George Russell secured his maiden Formula 1 victory ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Last weekend’s Brazilian GP couldn’t have been any more different, with both one-lap pace and race pace having been a huge issue for the W14.

On top of that, tyre degradation was a massive problem for the Brackley-based team, something nobody expected given how the Germans are typically so good on their tyres.

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From the start of the weekend to the end of it, Mercedes just looked completely lost, to the point that even AlphaTauri and Alpine appeared to have a stronger package.

Hamilton started the race in fifth but only managed to finish eighth, whilst Russell started seventh but failed to make it to the end.

The ex-Williams driver was told to retire his car due to concerns over his power unit; however, he’d already slipped outside the points by the time his afternoon was over.

Just 20 points now separate Mercedes and Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead of two races which will likely not play to the Silver Arrows’ strengths.

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Hamilton’s P8 has also all but ended his chances of beating Sergio Perez to second in the Drivers’ Championship, as he now sits 32 points behind.

Allison openly admitted that never in his “wildest dreams” did he expect the team to be so bad in Brazil, considering how optimistic they were ahead of the weekend.

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“I just wrote an email back to the factory saying I’m knocked for six by it,” Allison told the F1 Nation podcast. “Because we came here – it would’ve been too much to imagine that there was a repeat of last year’s win because the stars would have to align somewhat for that. I felt we’d be troubling the podium.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would have the torrid weekend that we just had. In some ways, there’s a comfort in that because we must have just got something wrong and we’ll go off and uncover what that was.

“With a bit of luck, under the lovely thing that racing gives you, [in a] couple of weeks’ time we’ll come back and hopefully put it to bed.”