Mercedes considered radical move for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Mercedes' 2023 Brazilian GP was described as the team's worst performance in "13 years" by Toto Wolff.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted after the Brazilian Grand Prix that the outfit considered starting from the pit-lane last Sunday at Interlagos, to make changes to their set-up.

As the Brazilian GP was a sprint weekend, parc ferme conditions were introduced after Free Practice 1.

This significantly hurt the Silver Arrows, who struggled for outright pace throughout the weekend.

Even tyre degradation was a massive problem for Lewis Hamilton and for George Russell, something which came as a huge surprise given that it’s normally an area where they excel.

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Russell ultimately retired from the race after slipping outside the top-10, as Mercedes were concerned about his power unit.

As for Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion had to settle for a woeful P8, dropping him to 32 points behind Sergio Perez in the fight for second in the Drivers’ Championship.

Mercedes struggled in all areas at Interlagos, although Hamilton believes the bulk of their problems was caused by the floor “not settling down”.

“My guess is that the floor is not working and the floor’s not settling down so that just pushed us to go to a higher wing [angle at the rear],” Hamilton said, as reported by

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“I feel we’re just massively draggy on the straights and we’re losing so much time on the straights, there’s nothing I can do about it.

“Then we’re just sliding through the corners. So we have to look into why that is the case on this rough circuit.”

“I am sure there is something within the set-up that we might have been able to have done a bit better. But whether or not that meant we were further up, I can’t say.”

Even the Sprint race was an event to forget for the Brackley-based squad, as Hamilton in particular just kept tumbling backwards in the closing laps.

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As a result, Mercedes seriously considered starting from the pit-lane but ultimately decided against it to score as many points as possible, something they expected to be easier with both cars starting in the top-eight.

“We didn’t know fundamentally where we would have changed it because there is a much bigger issue,” Wolff said.

“We thought about that but when thinking about maximising points, it was probably right to start like this.”