Toto Wolff insists Mercedes cannot blame any distractions for its disappointing result at the German Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton started from pole position and Valtteri Bottas from third, with the pair running one-two for the first part of the race. However, Hamilton went off on slick tires on a damp track and later spun to drop to 11th at the flag, before being promoted back up to ninth due to penalties for both Alfa Romeo cars. Bottas crashed out of fourth place late on, on a weekend where Mercedes was being followed by Netflix cameras for the first time and also marked 125 years of motorsport with a special livery and team outfits.
“It was a terrible day for us,” Wolff said. “It was a really difficult day. Everything started well at the beginning, and then it was tricky to make the right call. I think it was borderline whether to change tires or not. That can be justified, but obviously like Charles, Lewis put the car in the wall and it is difficult to come in around the bollard, so that was the penalty.
“Then we made the wrong call with the tires. The tires were not ready, which can happen if you crash right on the entry of pit lane, but nevertheless we lost a lot of time with the wrong tire call there. From then on we were on the back foot with Lewis all of the time.
“It is not embarrassing, it is motor racing and sometimes you’ve got to take a slap on the nose, on the chin as you say, and learn. These are the days which make us better. We’ve got to think about what went wrong, and then if things come together, like Valtteri crashing out at the end which was not great, this ends in an Armageddon weekend for us.
“We were celebrating 125 years here, with all the board here and all the Netflix guys here, that played no role at all. It probably gave them more content than any other weekend. We’ve got to stick our heads together and learn.”
Wolff had earlier told Sky television that the result “shows you shouldn’t fool around with stuff”, and while he notes Mercedes will look at every aspect of its race weekend, he said it is important to remember how successful his team has been this season.
“I do believe in karma, and when you want to do particularly well things can go wrong,” he said. “Maybe you get distracted, and maybe you are doing things differently to how you would normally do. I don’t know. At the end we will learn and summarize it rationally.
“Right now all the wrong things, all the calls that we missed and all the things we shouldn’t have done, we see [those] and we will progress as a team. We have a few days to come back, regroup and come back stronger at Budapest, hopefully with a strong result. We are still leading the championship and in a good position, which must not be forgotten.”