Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

Mexico City “probably the weakest of all tracks” for Mercedes

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Mercedes face a difficult weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as it is one of the worst tracks for their car.

The team ended the first day of practice over four tenths of a second slower than pace setter Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.

“This was never such a happy place for us in terms of car performance,” said Wolff, “although we love Mexico because we feel so welcome.”

Wolff echoed Lewis Hamilton’s claim the team’s deficit was mostly due to a lack of downforce, rather than the performance of its power unit.

“We don’t seem to find the sweet spot so we are chasing various directions today,” he said. “On a positive note, our engine is performing well. That was a little bit of a gap in the years before, that’s fine.

“So I think for us, it’s about doing the best possible job, and maybe that is difficult with Max’s performance, simply said.”

Wolff pointed out that when the team last visited the track, in a year when it comfortably won both championships, they were 0.504 seconds off Verstappen’s quickest time in qualifying.

“In our dominant year in 2019, where we crushed everybody, we lost qualifying here by half a second, if I’m correct,” he said. “So it’s probably the weakest of all our tracks, with Monaco.”

Valtteri Bottas out-paced Hamilton on the first day of practice. While speculation has surrounded whether Red Bull will have to impose team orders at the expense of home hero Sergio Perez, Wolff is hoping he won’t have to instruct Bottas to let their championship favourite Hamilton by.

“Nobody wants to take such an awful decision of playing team orders when a driver can win the race,” said Wolff. “We haven’t been in the situation yet [this year].

We’ve been there in Sochi [in 2018] and I hated every minute, every second of that decision. So I need to make up my mind how to play that on Sunday, I need to see how qualifying goes and we’ll certainly discuss it beforehand.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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8 comments on “Mexico City “probably the weakest of all tracks” for Mercedes”

  1. Guaranteed 1-2 for Mercedes then.

  2. Mercedes must be pretty glad Singapore dropped off the calendar and Turkey was the replacement. I think Singapore would have been a difficult track for them, probably compounded by the fact Ferrari might have been the 2nd quickest car in qualifying. Instead, Turkey was probably their best track of the season to date. Max could have been even further ahead.

    1. Indeed, singapore would’ve been interesting since mercedes is weak on street tracks and ferrari strong.

  3. Aren’t we spending a bit too much time (and articles) on what’s a strong and what’s a weak track for each team?
    Let’s just enjoy the weekend.

  4. Of course Lewis

  5. So they’ll be on pole then.

  6. I don’t trust this habitual liar to tell me if it’s raining. They say crap like this then go get a 1-2.

  7. Just wanted to let people notice wolff himself, a master of underplaying his team’s strengths, just said 2019 was dominant for mercedes, while we had people say ferrari should’ve won 2019 or stuff like it…

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