Toto Wolff makes Lewis Hamilton demand

Mercedes have claimed just two pole positions since the start of 2022 when the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton and George Russell “need to qualify better”, in order to get the most out of the W14’s tremendous race pace.

Qualifying has been a huge struggle for Mercedes since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced last season, resulting in the Silver Arrows claiming just two pole positions since the start of 2022.

The big issue for Hamilton and Russell has been Mercedes’ poor straight-line speed, which often impacts their qualifying performance.

Last weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix was no different, with Hamilton having admitted that he was losing two-tenths of a second just down the incredibly long start/finish straight.

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Hamilton qualified sixth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, whereas Russell was two places behind in eighth.

However, as has been the case for the majority of this season, Mercedes’ race pace was excellent.

Hamilton in particular was exceptional on Sunday and recovered to finish second, more than making up for his disqualification at the United States Grand Prix.

His fight to second was incredibly challenging though, as trying to overtake Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc proved to be easier said than done.

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Mercedes’ poor straight-line speed meant the 38-year-old had to be right on the gearbox of both drivers out of the final corner to get past using DRS, something which cost him several laps worth of free air.

Whether he would’ve had the pace to catch Max Verstappen had he got into second earlier is difficult to answer, with Mercedes having simply been delighted that the “car was strong”.

As pleased as Wolff was after the race though, he recognised that better qualifying performances are required to fight for victory.

“The smile on our face is because the car was strong,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

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“Once Lewis was in free air, we had so much margin in the medium. The lap times were good and [he got the] fastest lap at the end.

“It’s been a few weekends now where we say we ‘could have’ but didn’t. I think we need to qualify better. Probably with the straight-line speed, we wouldn’t have been so competitive against Max, but who knows, the pace is there.

“It was a brilliant, brilliant drive from Lewis. We have these oscillations in performance and we don’t really know sometimes if the tyres stick. Just a few degrees of track temperature and you are out of the window.”