Wolff laments Hamilton and Russell driving “miserable” Mercedes F1 cars.

Wolff laments Hamilton and Russell driving “miserable” Mercedes F1 cars.

Hamilton and Russell started fifth and eighth, and were third and sixth at the start of the second half after a red flag due to a starting accident.

But while they managed to keep up their showing in the opening laps, they soon ran into the same tire deterioration issues that hampered them in Saturday’s race, where they were forced to turn up earlier than everyone else after a first stint on the soft.

Combined with the deteriorating pace, the early stoppage forced them to extend the next two laps longer than the W14 team could handle as they slid towards the bottom of the top ten.

Hamilton finished eighth after Alpine racer Pierre Gasly overtook him and moved away from him, while Russell withdrew 12 laps before due to a high engine temperature, as he appeared to be on the verge of withdrawing from the points completely.

Team principal Wolff appeared shocked by his team’s performance at Interlagos with the same W14 car that had taken podium finishes in previous weeks.

“An unforgivable performance,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1. He continued: “There are no words to describe it. That car finished second last week and the week before that. Everything we did to it was terrible.”

“Louis survived there. But, George, I can’t help but feel for the two of them driving such a wretched thing.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photography: Zach Mauger/Motorsports Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

He continued: “This shows how difficult the car is, it is on a knife’s edge. We have to develop this better next year.”

“Because it can’t be done in seven days, you finish on the podium with probably one of the two fastest cars and then you finish eighth.”

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To make matters worse, Hamilton and Russell were easily overtaken on the straights after Mercedes opted to use a larger rear wing and more downforce.

But this decision, which Mercedes was stuck with after the first practice session due to the weekend’s racing rules, did not help its tire management at all, leaving Mercedes with another weak point in the race.

“I think speed on the straights was one of the problems, but maybe not the main factor,” Wolff said.

“The main factor was that we couldn’t get around the corners with the bigger wing as quickly as we needed to and we were killing and eating the tires within a few laps.

He added: “Obviously we are not world champions on sprint weekends. We are doing some good work here on track to get that done.

“But that doesn’t explain what happened or what went wrong. I mean, that car was on three wheels, not four.”

Explaining Russell’s retirement, Wolff added: “George’s problem was the power unit in the end. We had exceeded all the measures related to cooling.”

“It was the union’s last race, but that’s what it is. I’m not sure if we’re over the point or not.”

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