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Wolff explains why Mercedes went 'backwards' in qualifying

After seemingly displaying good pace during the weekend's practice sessions, Mercedes lost out to both Red Bull and Ferrari in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Team boss Toto Wolff was left disappointed by the outcome.

Toto Wolff has explained why Mercedes "went backwards" in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after looking stronger earlier in the weekend. The team set the pace during Friday's opening practice session, having arrived at the Yas Marina Circuit off the back of their 1-2 victory last time out in Brazil. However, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell slipped behind both Red Bull and Ferrari in Saturday's qualifying, with the pair set to line up in P5 and P6 respectively. Wolff couldn't hide his disappointment following the session, having told Sky Sports F1 : "I think that's one to put in the toilet."

Wolff: We didn't get the job done

Wolff feels that – as well as Ferrari appearing to make progress – the direction that the Silver Arrows took for the session may not have been the right one. "We didn't get the job done," the team boss explained. "I think we went backwards, and they did a little step forwards. "We went on a high downforce, high drag concept, in order to have a good race car tomorrow, and that was just so slow on the straights that it didn't give anything."

Issue for Hamilton

When asked if the team had considered splitting strategies, Wolff responded: "Yeah, but then we had the belief that for tomorrow it's so much better to have more downforce to protect the tyres. Let's see." Hamilton was heard referencing a braking issue over the team radio during the session, and Wolff has shed further light on the problem. "We have this odd brake split situation that, [in] practically every qualifying session, they start the lap and the brake splits," Wolff said. "That means the left is not doing what the right does, and that then unsettles the car in braking. "[It's] a big one [to look into] for the winter."

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