Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explains FP3 experiments harmed car at Miami Grand Prix: ‘We worsened it’

Mercedes Team principal Toto Wolff explained why the team’s car had such a dramatic drop-off in performance in Free Practice 3.

Before Saturday’s first session it had appeared that the German team had delivered a much-improved car to compete at the Miami Grand Prix this weekend.

George Russell ended the second practice session as the quickest driver and Lewis Hamilton looked much more impressive, though trailed his teammate.

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However on Saturday Hamilton could only secure a 15th-placed finish, and Russell took 17th. That seemed a huge disappointment for the team after it appeared that their new design, including new front and rear wings, had solved many of the performance problems they had been suffering from since early pre-season testing and into the opening races.

However Wolff told Sky Sports that the reduced pace could be put down to experimental changes made, meaning they could be reversed for qualifying, when Hamilton finished sixth and Russell 12th.

“We saw a performing car yesterday in P2 that was real,” he said.

“We were able to put it in a sweet spot and today in P3 we were completely off with the experiments we did.

“It creeped a little bit off but it was still bouncing like a kangaroo, the drivers are not happy with it and you can see that is the reason we are off.

“We definitely have a better handling on what works and the slump today from yesterday helped.

“It is never one thing that is responsible for performance and non-performance but we had a good car yesterday afternoon, then we worsened it.

“Some things we understand, others don’t.”

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