Toto Wolff surprised Lewis Hamilton came up short in Lando Norris fight

Lando Norris finished P2 at the 2023 British GP to score his and McLaren's first podium of 2023.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has openly admitted that he expected Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to beat both McLaren drivers at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, following a late Safety Car.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were on the Hard compound when a late Safety Car was summoned following an engine failure for Kevin Magnussen, with the pair having found themselves in second and fourth.

Hamilton and Russell sat in third and fifth; however, they were both on the faster Soft compound.

As a result, Wolff thought Mercedes could easily claim a double podium at the Silverstone International Circuit, something which didn’t happen.

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Even on the Hard compound, McLaren had exceptional pace, enough to defend second and fourth.

It meant Hamilton and Russell had to settle for third and fifth, with Wolff admitting that neither driver could overcome McLaren’s stunning speed through the high-speed corners.

“To be honest when the Safety Car was deployed I was pretty sure, if not convinced, that we would be eating up the McLarens and finish with a P2 and P3 or maybe even challenge up the road,” Wolff said after the race.

“So you see just how strong their car was.

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“We could have had a go in the first few laps, but they both raced a very strong hand and with their efficiency and top speed through the high-speed corners and on the straights there was just no way in passing them.”

Russell also assumed that himself and Hamilton would finish ahead of both Norris and Piastri, given the tyre advantage they had.

The former Williams driver expected a double podium to be “clear cut”, only to be left stunned by how quickly McLaren heated up the Hard compound.

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“I thought it was going to be clear cut, Lewis and I P2 and P3 – see you later,” Russell said. “I couldn’t believe how well they turned on the tyres.

“Perhaps if they put the Soft on their car it may not have worked the same way as it worked on ours. Equally if we had the Hards on, it probably wouldn’t have worked the same way as it did on their car.

“But Medium/Hard was definitely the wrong strategy, the Softs were certainly the best tyre. They were a good one-and-a half to two-tenths ahead of us.”