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Toto Wolff

Wolff sends message to Mercedes' rivals: We won't rest until we're back

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it's "extremely painful" that his drivers aren't able to join in the battle at the front of Formula 1 as things stand.

Hamilton Albon Hulkenberg Saudi
To news overview © Mercedes

Toto Wolff has vowed that his Mercedes team will not rest until they are able to rejoin the lead battle in Formula 1, having seemingly slipped from the pinnacle of the sport.

The Constructors' World Champions of the last eight years have had a slow start to the 2022 season, and watched on as Red Bull and Ferrari fought for the race victories in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

While George Russell and Lewis Hamilton salvaged a double points finish with fifth and 10th place in Jeddah, Wolff explained how frustrating it is to be fighting for scraps after being so used to leading the charge.

"We had the luxury of being right in the middle of those fun games for the last eight years," he told media, including RacingNews365.com, after Sunday's race.

"Luxury is the wrong word... we were right in the middle of those fun games in the front and, talking as a Formula 1 stakeholder, benefitting from a great show that is really spectacular to look at.

"But, on the other side, [it] is extremely painful to be not part of those fun games – and by quite a chunk of lap time deficit.

"We're not going to rest until we are back in the mix. But it's no fun at all. [It's an] exercise in humility and it's gonna make us stronger, even though it's not funny right now."

Wolff explains Hamilton's poor result

With Hamilton starting the race from 15th after a troubled qualifying session, the seven-time World Champion set off on the Hard tyres and appeared to have hauled himself into contention to vie with Russell over fifth place thanks to a strong first stint.

But this fell apart during the late Virtual Safety Car, due to the pit lane being closed as a result of McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Alpine's Fernando Alonso blocking the entrance.

As a result, Hamilton was forced to stop and take on the mandatory second tyre compound when the action resumed, meaning he tumbled down the order.

"What I think was on the encouraging side is that his stint on the Hard was positive," Wolff said of Hamilton's race.

"I wouldn't [say] it was fast, but it was positive."

Explaining the strategy confusion as Hamilton had wanted to enter the pit lane immediately prior to Race Control closing it, Wolff said: "Obviously, Alonso slowed down, and Ricciardo broke down with the engine.

"We told [Lewis] to come in, but there was a double yellow with one car slowing down and one stationary, so it was a very confusing situation.

"He drove by and slowed down because of the confusion, then that made us come out behind [Kevin] Magnussen, and then it was game over."

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