The Mercedes Formula 1 team has offered an insight into its troubled weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
São Paulo held the final sprint event of the campaign, with teams having just one practice session on Friday to set up their cars for the weekend.
During the sprint race and the Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggled for pace as both cars had high rear tyre degradation.
The event was described by Team Principal Toto Wolff as Mercedes' “worst weekend in 13 years” as it scored just 11 points - most of which came during the sprint race.
Riccardo Musconi, Mercedes' Head of Trackside Performance, stated that things only started to go wrong during the shorter race on Saturday.
“The long run pace we showed in free practice was quite reassuring,” he said.
“We didn’t think that we needed to change the car around, so we went into qualifying, and the results were around the third row. In a way, we were not pleased with it, and we felt the car deserved more.
“The alarm bells went out during the sprint race because after the encouraging first two laps, the degradation of our car was quite high, mainly coming from the rear axle.
“At that stage we worried about our performance on the Sunday.
“We organised for a simulator session back at the factory, looking at the parameters we could change between Saturday and Sunday, as we are in parc fermé because it's a sprint weekend.
“That doesn’t leave us with many tools to play with.
“We were hoping that addressing some of the issues we experienced on Saturday, like pushing very hard on the first couple of laps, doing a bit more management and trimming a bit the balance of the car with the flap would have been enough to put us in a more comfortable position for Sunday.”
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However, despite its best efforts to understand the issues ahead of the main race it couldn't eradicate its issues and also encountered fresh problems.
“What came out of Sunday was quite a bleak picture resemblant of our Saturday,” Musconi said.
“We improved the degradation a bit on the rear axle but at the same time we started suffering from understeer, so the car was struggling to turn the corners.
“The pace therefore wasn’t there and we couldn’t compete at the front.
“Did we consider changing the setup of the car? Well, we are in parc fermé throughout the weekend with the sprint regulations so if we were changing the setup on Saturday night, we'd have to take a pitlane start on Sunday.
“That means that you are released after all the cars are passed by the pit exit, you need to catch up to the back of the pack and cut through it which causes tyre degradation.
“So, for us from a strategical point of view, it was off the table.”