No quick fix to boost Hamilton's car: Wolff

Mercedes are working hard to bring Lewis Hamilton's race car to an optimum level for the Briton to win an F1 race.
Mercedes are working hard to bring Lewis Hamilton's race car to an optimum level for the Briton to win an F1 race.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • Formula One champions Mercedes have no "magic bullets" to solve the problems that slowed Lewis Hamilton in Russia last month, but they are focusing on finding a solution, team principal Toto Wolff said on Monday.

Hamilton started and finished fourth in Sochi on April 30, ending a run of eight successive appearances on the podium.

The three-time world champion had complained of his Mercedes overheating from early on. He ended up finishing 36 seconds behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who took the first race win of his Formula One career.

"Lewis had a difficult weekend in both qualifying and the race," Wolff said in a preview for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, the fifth round of the season, in Barcelona.

"We have spent our time since then (analysing) what happened to understand why we couldn't get the car in the right window of performance.

"There are no magic bullets to understanding that, just a lot of hard work and attention to detail. We must give him the tools he needs to do the job in the next races and that will be a big focus for us."

Hamilton failed to finish in Spain last year after colliding with then-team-mate Nico Rosberg at the start, a clash that allowed Red Bull's Dutch teenager Max Verstappen to win.

This season, Ferrari and Mercedes have each won two races.

Wolff said Mercedes, who lead Ferrari in the constructors' standings by a single point, need to make plenty of improvements.

"The prevailing feeling is that there is lots of homework to do to come back stronger with a car that can perform on a consistent level every weekend," he said.

"I have the feeling that we are moving in the right direction, but we need 24/7 shifts to achieve our ultimate targets.

"Barcelona will be interesting as our pre-season was not spectacular in Spain. It's a very different track to Sochi and we'll be running with harder tyres. We are taking this season one race at a time. If we deliver the best possible work from Friday onwards, then we'll be ready to win and fight with Ferrari."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'No quick fix to boost Hamilton's car: Wolff'. Print Edition | Subscribe