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Toto Wolff on ‘Lessons Learned’ from Mercedes and why putting Lewis Hamilton on hard tires was like ‘sticking your hand in the toilet’

Toto Wolff said Mercedes learned many lessons at the Bahrain Grand Prix and admitted their tire decision was like “sticking your hand in the toilet”.

Expectations in Wolff’s team were low ahead of the race after practice and qualifying suggested they were a long way behind rivals Red Bull and Ferrari ahead of the season opener in Bahrain.

Wolff says Mercedes learned some hard lessons in Bahrain

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Wolff says Mercedes learned some hard lessons in Bahrain

While Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished the race in third and fourth place, they spent most of the race in fifth and sixth place, partly due to the decision to put Hamilton on the hard compound tyres, which was the Mercedes team principle was a key learning point for the team moving forward.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “I think with the soft tyre, at pure pace before the tire sags we’re almost there – not where Leclerc is – but at the others but then the degradation is too big .

“And then of course we tried to do something different but do the hard thing [tyre] I put my hand in the toilet and really was a second slower every lap.

“Lesson learned, so maybe those 35 seconds [gap] is a bit against us.”

Referring to the overall result of the race, he added: “You can tell how you manage expectations – if we had finished third and fourth last year it would have been very frustrating,” he said.

“But this year I think we’re hitting above our weight class. In the Red Bulls DNF-ing, third and fourth place is a fantastic result.”

Wolff was very happy with the final positions of Mercedes

Wolff was very happy with the final positions of Mercedes

That was echoed by Hamilton, who believes third and fourth places are “quite remarkable” for himself and Russell, respectively.

He said: “I woke up this morning hoping that we could have a car that’s better than what we think.

“We struggled in the race but George did a good job and with the struggles we’re having to finish third and fourth is quite remarkable.

Hamilton finished P3 in Bahrain, an excellent result for Mercedes

Hamilton finished P3 in Bahrain, an excellent result for Mercedes

“The thing about our car is, it’s a car that bounces a lot everywhere, not just in a straight line. We have a very bad rear end in all of the slow and medium speed corners.

“We are very slow on the straights. I don’t know if it’s drag or performance, we haven’t figured that out yet, but without DRS we can’t keep up with the others.

“We have a lot of work to do.”

Hamilton and Mercedes will now focus on next week’s Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, with the race weekend starting on Friday 25 March.

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https://talksport.com/sport/motorsport/1068775/lewis-hamilton-mercedes-toto-wolff-george-russell-bahrain-grand-prix/ Toto Wolff on ‘Lessons Learned’ from Mercedes and why putting Lewis Hamilton on hard tires was like ‘sticking your hand in the toilet’

Andrew Schnitker

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