Formula One

Wolff: Verstappen out of reach but ‘we expected more’ in qualifying


Toto Wolff acknowledged Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s superiority in qualifying in Barcelona, but the Mercedes boss says the German outfit’s cars should have been “right behind Max”.

Verstappen outpaced Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by 0.462s in Saturday’s shootout, with McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly completing the top four.

Wolff reckons that Mercedes’ “solid” session should have put Lewis Hamilton – the team’s best-placed car in Q3 – higher than P5.

“This is what we’ve seen after FP3 this morning where we felt we had something in the bag,” Wolff said. “That’s why the disappointment is big because we expected more.

“Having said that, if you look at the gaps it was very, very compressed with everyone. You can get it wrong easily.

“You can see that Leclerc is out in Q1, Perez is out in Q2, so that’s a bit of a mystery today. “The wind changed 180 degrees and some were caught out, maybe, because of that.”


Wolff blamed George Russell’s inability to make the Q3 cut on a wrong set-up choice.

“It was clear from the beginning that the set-up direction we went with George made the car worse,” he said. “

“I think from the get-go he complained that he didn’t feel any grip, that he had bouncing, the car understeered where it would before oversteer.

“That’s something which we need to unwind now to understand exactly what we could have done differently.”

Despite Wolff’s disappointment, the Austrian cast a very positive view on the new specification car introduced by Mercedes last week in Monaco.

“I believe in the package,” he said.

“It is a new baseline, it is from where we can continue to work on with a certain stability without needing to questions certain parts of the car, whether it’s the bodywork, the floor, the front suspension that is now established.

“This is what we are taking forward now.”


Nevertheless, the Brackley squad’s revamped contender is still no match for Red Bull’s dominant RB19 in the hands of Max Verstappen.

“I think Verstappen is just on a different level,” said Wolff. “It pisses me off to say that but that is the reality.

“There is a meritocracy, they’ve just done the best job, the driver’s driving excellent and they are just far away. And that is something which only we have in our hands to get under control.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Wolff: Verstappen out of reach but ‘we expected more’ in qualifying

You must be logged in to post a comment Login