Toto Wolff hopeful Mercedes will replicate Ferrari and McLaren with Silverstone upgrades

Lewis Hamilton has had a poor weekend at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has expressed his disappointment with the team’s performance in Austria thus far. 

While Lewis Hamilton secured the fifth fastest lap in qualifying, his teammate George Russell missed out on the top-ten shootout for the third consecutive race. 

Moreover, Mercedes unexpectedly found themselves outpaced by Ferrari and Lando Norris’ updated McLaren in the Friday afternoon session.

Wolff acknowledged his team’s underwhelming display, stating to Sky F1, “Overall [it was] underwhelming. We came with expectations that we would be fighting for P2 or P3, with the Ferraris and Aston Martins, and we underperformed. 

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“But obviously, the race is on Sunday, so we will see.”

Looking ahead, Mercedes plans to introduce another upgrade package at Silverstone next week. 

Wolff hopes that these changes will reinvigorate the German outfit and allow them to regain their competitive edge. 

Commenting on the close time gaps between teams, Wolff emphasised the significance of small margins, saying, “You see that the time gaps are not huge. 

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“You’re talking two-tenths up and down, and it makes a big difference. 

“We are bringing something to Silverstone, and hopefully, it has the impact that McLaren and Ferrari had [with their upgrades] today.”

However, Saturday’s Sprint qualifying brought further disappointment for Mercedes. 

Neither Russell nor Hamilton advanced to SQ3, and they will start the afternoon Sprint from 15th and 18th positions, respectively.

Hamilton shrugged off the result, stating, “Sprint race doesn’t really matter anyway. 

“We’ll just have some fun from the back, it is what it is.” 

On the other hand, Russell, who was unable to participate in SQ2 due to a hydraulic failure, expressed frustration but believed his pace was strong before the setback. 

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He said, “[There is] no reason why we couldn’t have had a better qualifying today, especially with the new set of Softs we had going into SQ3. 

“Top five would have been definitely on the cards, so it’s just not our weekend. It’s one of those things when it rains it pours. 

“So we’ll see what we can do this afternoon and tomorrow and definitely try to match it next week.”