It is not often that a Mercedes car does not finish in the Top-5 of a Grand Prix’s qualifying session. But the unthinkable happened in wet and slippery conditions in the Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were unable to switch the tires on to create grip. And a fairly disappointing practice turned into disappointment after qualifying.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, however, has emphasized that this was part of the learning curve for them. But much like everybody else, track conditions played spoilsport in their lap timings as well.
Wolff was quoted as saying, “I believe we haven’t lost a pole in wet conditions this year. But the conditions were different in that it wasn’t only wet, but it was a brand new circuit that was slippery and cold ambient and track temperatures.”
It really represented a slump for the newly crowned Constructors’ Champions. In what is an otherwise dominant car, adaptability to wet conditions might just be the chink in Mercedes’ armor.
“I think we have to learn from this. It was very different conditions than we have over the average of the season because of the temperatures, track and air, because of the rain and because of the resurfaced tarmac.
“But it doesn’t matter, because it is the same for everybody. And today we have been not able to switch the tyres on and find the grip but others were,” concluded Wolff on the subject.
Finishing P6 and P9 is not a situation Mercedes find themselves in too often. Nevertheless, they will have it all to do when the lights go out during Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix Main Race.
Hamilton had earlier expressed the experience to be akin to racing on an ice rink. But then again, the Racing Points and Red Bulls were both able to generate some kind of grip and reaped the rewards.
Therefore, it is just a case of going back to the drawing board for the German manufacturers. Ahead of Sunday, they will want to get their act together and show the world why they are the champions after all.