2023 Dutch Grand Prix – Sunday

2023 Dutch Grand Prix – Sunday

A dramatic afternoon in Zandvoort saw the team drop to the back, recover to the top ten – then finish in the points with a single car after a chaotic wet sprint to the flag

The team’s results were defined by the opening 15 laps, when poorly timed pit-stop calls dropped the drivers to the back of the field, and left the team in recovery mode.
Lewis climbed from P13 at the start, via P20 in the early laps, to P6 at the finish – in line with the finishing prediction for a normal, dry race.
He ran Medium, Inter, Soft, Soft, Inter tyres during the race.
George stayed out until lap four in the early rain, dropping to P19 after stopping for intermediates.
He then ran soft, hard to try to recover, then inter following the red flag.
Running P7 after the restart, he had contact with Norris that punctured his left-rear and dropped him to P17 at the finish.
The eight points scored today is the team’s lowest return of the season – and means the gap to P3 in the constructors’ championship in now 40 points.

Lewis Hamilton
I didn’t really know how today was going to go – last night, I was wracking my brain about where we went wrong in qualifying and how we ended up P13, and how to climb back up. I wanted to start the race on an offset tyre compound, but then it turned out I was the only one in the field on a different tyre – and then the rain came. As a team, we made the wrong decision and paid the price, coming out last. After that, I just got my head down and I was chasing; it was a great example that when you fall or stumble, just get back up and keep trying. Each time I pitted, I came out behind, and kept chasing and chasing. I was really happy – I passed the McLaren, for example, which isn’t easy at this track. And then at the end, I just needed DRS to pass Sainz, because I was quicker but didn’t have the speed on the straight to do it. But overall, it’s a feeling of what could have been: if we’d made different calls, we had the pace to challenge the top two. We weren’t far off in the dry – and it would have been good to be in that fight.

George Russell
That was a tough one today – I went into the race expecting to fight for a podium and I ended up P17. We were expecting the rain to say for just a few minutes, and it ended up being close to ten. It was ready for inters but I thought I could brave it out for another lap or two if it was only going to be short – but that’s not what happened. We’d rather have a fast car and a bad day than the opposite, but it was a missed opportunity today. At the end, I was side by side with Lando into the chicane at the end of the lap, then we had contact. It cost a few points and it was a shame because we had such a fast car today, then our decisions on the weather went against us. But there are still positives to take away from the base pace we showed. We knew this circuit could be strong for us – and looking to Monza, it’s a totally different beast. We will clear our heads, go in with some new ideas and the learnings from this weekend, and see what we can do.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
That was a difficult day for us. In the opening 15 laps, we got pretty much everything wrong that we could have done – and that cost us any chance of fighting for the podium. For the next 50 laps until the red flag, it was pretty much business as usual: the car was quick on every tyre compound, we made the right calls and the drivers did a great recovery to P6 and P8. In the final laps, George was unlucky to fall to the back after contact, while Lewis tried everything he could on Sainz but there was no way past. In the end, I’d rather we have a quick car and a bad result, than the other way round. It was an entertaining race for Formula One – and the kind of day when we should have been part of the action at the front. But if, but and maybe don’t count for anything in this sport. Now, we need to regroup, understand why we as a team got things wrong today, and go again in Monza next weekend.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
Not a good day for us. We didn’t anticipate how heavy the early shower was going to be which meant we’d dropped both cars to the back from the very early stages. The decisions we took after that, however, were good, and we managed to get both cars back into a reasonable position when the race got red flagged. Unfortunately, Lewis couldn’t find a way past Sainz in the short intermediate stint at the end and George picked up a puncture fighting Norris, so we leave here with just eight points, making it our worst points score of the season. However, we can take encouragement from the fact the car has been good this weekend. Although we’ve struggled in certain conditions, the pace in the race was strong and we’re going in the right direction. We’re very happy that we’ll get to hit the track again in five days’ time as we will be wanting to put this result behind us.

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

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