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Mercedes “did not provide Hamilton the right car” for F1 qualifying in Monaco

F1 championship leaders Hamilton slumped to their worst qualifying result in almost three years in Monaco on Saturday, finishing seventh after being nearly three quarters of a second off pole position.

Team mate Valtteri Bottas was able to qualify for Mercedes in third place, while Hamilton’s most important title rival Max Verstappen took second place on the grid.

Hamilton was optimistic after qualifying, saying his chances of winning the race were over and the session had been a “disaster”.

He later said he needed to have some “tough talks” with Mercedes because “things that should have been done weren’t done”.

After the team’s qualifying debriefing, Mercedes F1 boss Wolff acknowledged Hamilton’s frustration and said the problems were likely related to the tires warming up.

“We just had a very productive and tough debriefing, and these are the days that we learn the most,” said Wolff when asked about Hamilton’s comments from Autosport.

“This team has a brutal honesty and transparency about it and we didn’t get things right. It is not yet entirely clear how all the voting options interacted with each other.

“But I would say in general that we didn’t have enough grip on each of these runs. And probably related to the tire temperature.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“We have to analyze that here too, but one thing is certain, none of us were competitive. We didn’t provide Lewis with the right car to build confidence and based on a good, gripping car that he would like to have. “

Wolff said Bottas was able to put his tires “in a better window” after a “more productive” final session on Saturday morning and avoid the traffic fights that Hamilton faced in the first quarter.

“When you’re able to measure back-to-back good times like you did in the first quarter, things come together more easily,” Wolff said.

“Overall, we didn’t work well enough together today.”

When asked if he was surprised by Hamilton’s comments given the unity of the Mercedes team, Wolff said it was not and that it would be good for drivers to express their opinions and show frustration.

“When you finish P7 in Monaco, you pretty much know that this may be the end of the weekend and then it’s absolutely fine to let your frustration off,” said Wolff.

“Nobody on the team takes it the hard way because we put it the other way around. He’s the first to acknowledge and apologize when something goes wrong. He did it publicly and privately.

“As a group, I think that one of our great advantages that has made us champions in the past is that we can take it on our chins.

“There was a certain aspect of tire heating that we discussed this morning and Thursday evening where we could have taken a different direction, a direction he wanted to go that we didn’t.

“That was exactly what we were talking about. How can we switch to an exploration mode when we expect much colder temperatures?”

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