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Toto Wolff Shoots Warning At Mercedes Rivals Despite Tough Start

Ryan Sidle

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Toto Wolff Shoots Warning At Mercedes Rivals Despite Tough Start

Lewis Hamilton has been handed a boost for the rest of the Formula One season, after Toto Wolff fired a warning to Red Bull and Ferrari over their potential improvement.

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It has been a terrible start to the 2022 season for Mercedes, and in particular Hamilton, after the change of rules for this year has completely wiped away their near decade long dominance of the sport.

So far the team have picked up just two podium finishes in the opening five races, with one apiece for Hamilton and new man George Russell.

There was some better news last time out, at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, with Russell taking fifth ahead of the seven time world champion in sixth, and the two drivers also did well in the first two practice sessions in America.

Whilst they couldn't recreate their practice pace in the race, Wolff has claimed that the sessions on Friday helped the team move in the right direction.

"With the third quickest car underneath us, we extracted the maximum points possible in Miami," the Mercedes team principal said ahead of this weekend's race in Barcelona.

"Considering George's start position, it was a great recovery drive, helped by when the Safety Car was deployed.

Russell overtook Hamilton late in the race with fresher tyres. Image: PA Images
Russell overtook Hamilton late in the race with fresher tyres. Image: PA Images

"But the timing was unfortunate for Lewis who was strong all weekend and on course to score P5 without the neutralisation of the race. I've no doubt that over the course of the season, a little luck will eventually go his way.

"During Friday practice, the car showed flashes of its true potential. We continued experimenting with set-up, fitted some new components and that's provided us answers and indications of which direction to go in.

"A huge amount of hard work has been going on in the factories to unpick the data from Miami and turn it into improvements for Barcelona."

Hamilton has had some bad luck with what times he's changed his tyres during races, especially when contrasted to Russell's good luck.

That's why Wolff was compelled to apologise to the 37-year-old following his 13th placed finish at Imola, compared to Russell's fourth place.

Hamilton didn't have a great weekend in Miami. Image: PA Images
Hamilton didn't have a great weekend in Miami. Image: PA Images

And the team boss went on to send a bit of a warning to their rivals that things could soon turn around, "Having run there [Barcelona] in winter testing, albeit with a car that has evolved a lot since then, it will be a good place to correlate the information we have on the current car and we're hopeful that we'll make another step forward.

"The track itself is a good all-rounder, so it really puts every aspect of the car to the test.

"It's never been a great track for overtaking so it'll be interesting to see how these new-shape 2022 F1 cars impact the on-track spectacle in Spain.

"In basketball terms, we head to Barcelona at the end of the first quarter of the game. We know that once we translate the learnings we've made into track performance, there's still a lot of the game left to play."

After this weekend's race in Spain the teams head for Monaco, the most iconic race of the season, but Hamilton could still miss it due to the ongoing row over wearing jewelry.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1, Mercedes

Ryan Sidle
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