‘It went against Lewis’: Mercedes boss defends Hamilton after Russell outperforms him

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was downbeat following the Miami Grand Prix as the Silver Arrows' pace conundrum continued.

After showing strong pace during all three free practice sessions at the Miami Grand Prix, the team suffered a disappointing qualifying and race, leaving the Mercedes boss perplexed as to where their pace went.

Ahead of qualifying it appeared that Mercedes would make it a three-way fight for pole and the race victory at the Miami International Autodrome.

This wasn’t to be though after George Russell failed to make it out of Q2 on Saturday, despite ending FP3 on top.

The former Williams driver recovered superbly during Sunday’s inaugural race, finishing above his team-mate and continuing his run of finishing in the top five at every race so far in 2022.

Lewis Hamilton finished behind Russell in sixth, however both Mercedes drivers were well off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull.

The team’s unusual performances were highlighted by Wolff, who stated that being the third best team “is where we are”.

“We are not as quick in qualifying and we go back to where we are, and that is behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris,” said Wolff.

“We will be looking at all the data we have, that we have generated, and try to find out [why].

“We had really good sessions on Friday with quick laps, and we need to dissect why that is, because we are not on top of it at the moment.”

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Lewis Hamilton slams Mercedes after finishing behind George Russell in Miami GP.v1

Russell’s recovery from twelfth to fifth was helped massively by Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly’s collision on lap 41, which brought out the race’s only safety car.

The young Briton started the race on the hard compound, with the aim of running deep in the race and being helped hopefully by either a VSC or a full one.

Russell was lucky enough to get the latter, meaning that not only was he on a fresh set of mediums whilst those around him were on old hards but he also only lost two places.

This went against his team-mate who was on well-used hard tyres, meaning that the seven-time world champion was easy to overtake for Russell.

Wolff remained visibly frustrated with his team’s performance when he spoke to Sky Sports F1.

The German explained that whilst the safety car was what the team had been hoping for with Russell, it massively went against Hamilton.

“George stayed out for a long time as we were betting on a Safety Car for him and that materialised, coming from nowhere, and it went against Lewis.

“We lost the position there but, at the end of the day, there is no ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ at the moment. It’s just a bit dull, as we are the third quickest on the road – we’re in a no man’s land.

“We had a good Friday; we need to dissect why that was and then come back.”