Annoyed Toto Wolff admits ‘there’s no excuse’ for Mercedes’ poor performance

Toto Wolff left frustrated by Mercedes' lack of performance in Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has admitted there is “no excuse” for his team’s underwhelming performance in qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix.

For the third weekend in a row, George Russell was the fastest Mercedes driver in qualifying but he could only take seventh as he ended up over seven tenths of a second adrift of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Meanwhile, teammate Lewis Hamilton was knocked out in Q2 in a lowly 11th as the seven-time world champion suffered his worst qualifying performance in Melbourne since 2010.

Mercedes had found encouraging performance gains in final practice on Saturday morning, with Hamilton getting within a tenth of the fastest time, only for the team’s competitiveness to dramatically drop away in qualifying.

"It's especially underwhelming because we were within a tenth in FP3,” Mercedes team principal Wolff told Sky.

“The conditions were a little bit different but there is no excuse. We have a car that's difficult and you can be narrowly in or out of the window.

"As much as I'm annoyed myself about saying this for a long time, we just need to continue working on it.

“It's not because of a lack of trying but we are where we are and it's not good enough.”

While Wolff conceded it is an “illusion” to think Mercedes can close the gap to Red Bull in the short-term, he still believes the team can turn things around with their W15 car.

"It's an illusion to get closer to Red Bull in the short-term, but I still have to believe there is more in this car,” Wolff added.

"This morning it was not a bad car, but it's so tricky to go in and out of the performance window and we have to continue to work on it.”

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