'I Want To Punch Myself On Nose': Says Wolff After 'Tough' Race In Melbourne

Monday, 25 March 2024 at 02:40
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff reflected on his cars' performance after the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, saying he wanted to "punch" himself "in the nose."
While Toto Wolff called the Merceedes's performance during the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix the worst in the last 13 years, the result of that race was still better than what his team achieved during the third race of the 2024 season at Albert Park Circuit.
Neither of the two Mercedes drivers was able to finish the race. Lewis Hamilton had to retire after 15 laps due to an engine problem, and George Russell crashed on the race's final lap, lost his P7, and also didn't finish. As reported by motorsport.com, Wolff said that after the race:

"There were times in the race where we massively lacked pace. And then there were times at the end when you compare like for like, we were doing OK. Still not where we want to be."

"But you could see in the second stint, Fernando on the medium [tire], we couldn't come anywhere close. The lap times looked like a second off the McLaren's."

On the other hand, the Austrian team principal also saw positive signs in Mercedes' performance in the last stint on the hard-compound tires when Russell started catching up with Alonso and showed a much better pace.

"Then suddenly the last [stint], when we went for it, not worrying too much, the lap times were competitive. Not [a match for] Sainz. But it was much better. So clearly, we started the season in the belief that this car is better than it was last year."

Ferrari struggled a lot at this point of the 2023 season (a year ago) and then obviously made immense progress, which led them to where they are now—competing with the Red Bulls.
Seeing this kind of progress gives Wolff hope, but he said he still wants to punch himself into the nose after the 2024 Australian Grand Prix. He added:

"Then you look at last year and look at these guys - Leclerc crashed out and Sainz was fourth and got relegated to outside of the top 10 because of a penalty. [Now], they are 40s ahead of us."

"So, obviously on one side, I want to punch myself on the nose. But on the other side, it is also a testimony of that when you get things right, you can turn it around pretty quickly and you just got to continue to believe. But at the moment it is very, a very tough time."