TOTO WOLFF has admitted Lewis Hamilton’s slow start to the Formula One season is “no fun at all” for Mercedes.
It was the first time since 2017 the seven-time world champion hadn’t progressed past Q1, and was a sobering reminder of how far off Ferrari and Red Bull Wolff’s Mercedes team are.
After dominating the sport for so long, Wolff has labelled the start to the season as “an exercise in humility,” with Hamilton’s car severely lacking pace.
George Russell has impressed with P4 and P5 in the opening two races of the 2022 calendar, but it’s still not where Mercedes want to be.
Wolff told Sky Sports: “We were right in the middle of those fun games at the front for eight years.
“It’s extremely painful to not be part of those games by quite a chunk of lap-time deficit. It’s no fun at all.
“It’s an exercise in humility and it’s going to make us stronger in the end, even though it’s not fun right now.”
Mercedes have won the Constructors’ title every year since 2014 – but radical changes to the cars for the 2022 season have seen them plummet down the grid.
New designs were introduced to make following easier, theoretically resulting in more overtakes and more exciting racing.
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And Wolff reckons F1 bosses have got exactly what they had hoped for so far.
He added: “They have achieved what they wanted to achieve. Spectacular racing, good overtaking, the grid has been shaken up – which is less fun for us – but it happens.
“The midfield is extremely close so overall, from the entertainment factor, I’m happy about the hype around Formula 1. I think then they achieved the target. You can only applaud for how that all came in.”
Two races into the 23-race season, Wolff is yet to discover the reason why Mercedes are languishing so far behind Ferrari and Red Bull.
Worryingly though for fans of the team, the Austrian admitted “there are deficits everywhere” when it comes to competing with the title rivals.
Wolf said: “We are not running the car where we are wanting to run it, therefore it’s very difficult to really assess what the lap time deficit is if we’re able to run the car lower.
“I would very much hope that the gap is much closer to what we’ve seen, but there are deficits everywhere.”