Wolff: Abu Dhabi qualifying 'one to put in the toilet'!


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had a good reason to describe his team's struggles in qualifying on Saturday in Abu Dhabi as "one to put in the toilet".

Mercedes was the third fastest team in Saturday evening's qualifying shootout, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell concluding the session P5 and P6 in the pecking order behind Red Bull and Ferrari's contenders.

While the Brackley knew that it would be challenged to replicate its Brazilian Grand Prix form at sea level and around Yas Marina's layout, it at least expected that its single lap pace would be closer to Ferrari.

"Today I have just heard is world toilet day, so I think that was one to put in the toilet," joked Wolff, speaking after qualifying to Sky F1.

"We went backwards and they [Ferrari] did a little step forwards. We went for a high downforce, high drag concept to have a good race car for tomorrow, and that was just so slow on the straights. It didn't give anything.

"We always knew that we need to improve and not set our expectations set on the Brazil result.

"I think [Interlagos] perfectly suited our car, everything ran very, very smoothly. And in Abu Dhabi, in our table of doom, was one of our worst tracks.

"Not catastrophic like the high-speed tracks, but still not ideal, and we've seen that today."

Mercedes has battled the vagaries of its 'draggy' car all season, and a few of W13's quirks reared their ugly head again in Abu Dhabi.

"We're just way too draggy for qualifying time, losing six-tenths on the straights, and it's just not easily solved by reducing the rear wing because it's simply the aerodynamic efficiency that the car is lacking.

"If we reduce the rear wing, we're not fast through the corners."

In hindsight, Mercedes' simulations for Abu Dhabi had correctly warned the team of its difficulties.

"In a way, it's good there is correlation between our simulation and the result, that's the one positive I see," said Wolff.

"I hope that we have a strong race car that is gentle to the tyres, even though we maybe can't overtake."

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