Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff says he and his team are disappointed with the defeat in France because they probably had a faster car than Red Bull in the race and is aware that they will have to be at the highest level in the future if they want to win.
Mercedes lost its first race on the Paul Ricard, who entered the F1 calendar in 2018, and Red Bull won three races in a row for the first time in the hybrid era with Verstappen and Perez, who stood together on the podium for Red Bull for the first time in France.
Although Verstappen mistakenly gave Hamilton the lead in the first round, he managed to bring it back through boxing, and when the Dutchman entered boxing for the second time, Hamilton found himself in the lead again, which he lost only in the penultimate round.
Hamilton managed to build a three-second advantage over Verstappen in the first section, while the Dutchman failed to separate from Hamilton and Bottas in the second section, so Red Bull decided to change strategy, and Mercedes believes that they had a slightly faster car in the race.
“The car’s performance was good, I think we probably had a faster car,” Wolff said. "We lost the boxing race, believing we had enough advantage to protect from the undercut [earlier entry into boxing by which a driver on new tires compensates for an advantage over a driver on older tires], which was not the case."
“We had a solid three-second advantage to protect us from undercuts, but it wasn’t enough, and after that, we were on the wrong foot." "The fight between the three cars at the top of the standings was intense and I think at one point you had to decide whether to continue with one or two boxing entries.
” "Two boxing entries were a danger because Perez was on our way and we made the wrong decision today."
Shovlin on the race
Mercedes head of track operations Andrew Shovlin also finds the result disappointing because Hamilton controlled the race in the first section of the race and that Mercedes use up tires less than Red Bull.
“We had a chance to win and have both cars on the podium so the result is obviously very disappointing,” Shovlin said. “Lewis controlled the race in the first section and we looked a bit better in terms of degradation.
We started the boxing sequence ourselves with Valtteri struggling with the rising vibes and it was clear we wanted to go in with him, but it became clear we had no choice. ” "Max then went into boxing in the next round to protect himself from Valtteri, but as Lewis had a little over a three-second lead we thought we had enough undercut protection, but that wasn't the case." "Boxing stops were good, hard tires were fast, but we need to better understand why we lost position."