Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was a frustrated figure after the chequered flag in Zandvoort. Wolff argued that Mercedes failed to optimise a W14 F1 car with “great pace” after a catalogue of failures. Having struggled in The Netherlands, the Silver Arrows look to feature in more positive news headlines in Monza.
Having established themselves quite comfortably as second in the standings, Zandvoort was a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted.
Aston Martin brought upgrades that catapulted them back to the front, whilst an ambitious and adaptable Pierre Gasly secured a second podium finish in 2023 for Alpine.
Whilst rivals McLaren and Ferrari also failed to deliver, the Dutch GP was a missed opportunity for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to secure an excellent result.
Unfortunately for the British duo, poor strategy largely wasted the numerous high-risk, high-reward scenarios in the race. Looking ahead to Monza, Toto Wolff believes the W14 has plenty of pace to exploit:
“It’s annoying because the car had great pace. From then onwards, it was just about recovering as well as we could.
“I’d rather have a fast race car and a mediocre result, even if it hurts.
“The situation is never one person or one department. It’s how we communicate together, between the driver, the pit wall, strategy, weather, and then all of us taking decisions.
“That was sub-par from all of us, including me. But it’s good that it hurts. When it stings, it sticks.”
Lewis Hamilton gave a similar assessment post-race, explaining that – from his perspective – a battle with Verstappen for the win was possible in wet conditions.
Regardless of this assessment, it is clear that Mercedes compromised both drivers with a sub-optimal strategy. Considering the nature of Red Bull’s dominance, the errors made on Sunday were especially frustrating.
The Brackley team’s usual operational excellence deserted them, but it will have to return in Monza – a circuit where plenty of teams could be competitive.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang