Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted he is glad the last qualifying session of the season is over after Mercedes endured another disappointment.Lewis Hamilton failed to make the cut for Q3 at Yas Marina, for the second race weekend in a row. Speaking on his radio after the session Hamilton said he suspected there was something wrong with his car.
Wolff said Hamilton had “just no grip” throughout much of the running on Saturday.
His team mate fared better, claiming fourth on the grid. Russell was quickest in the first and third practice sessions, held in warmer conditions, but Mercedes found their car became less competitive as the track temperatures dropped.
“[Final practice] was even, I would say, dominant,” Wolff told Sky. “Norris could have probably been there and would have been there also by the way in qualifying.
“It just didn’t come together,” he added. “Probably that’s what was in the car. But our expectations were higher temperatures.”
Mercedes go into the final race of the seeking to preserve their slender, four-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors championship. The two W14s will start ahead of one Ferrari, Carlos Sainz Jnr having been eliminated in Q1, but behind Charles Leclerc, who claimed a place on the front row of the grid.
However Wolff admitted he is keen to put the team’s frustrating 2023 campaign behind them. If they fail to win tomorrow’s race, it will be their first season without a victory since 2011.
“I’m fed up with having explanations why it didn’t go well,” he said. “We were good in the hot, we weren’t in the cold, the previous day it was the other way around.
“So I’m happy that this was the last qualifying of the season and we’re going to come with a new car.”
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