Mercedes ‘not operating at F1 championship-winning level’
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At the Monaco Grand Prix, a botched pitstop cost Valtteri Bottas a podium while reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish seventh after a strategic gamble backfired, resulting in Mercedes losing the lead of both world championships for the first time in the hybrid era.In Baku, an uncharacteristic error from Hamilton cost him a shot of winning the race and capitalising on Max Verstappen’s retirement and Bottas struggled for pace on his way to 12th as Mercedes failed to score a point when both cars have finished the race for the first time since the 2012 United States Grand Prix.With Mercedes managing just seven points across the last two races, Red Bull has opened up a 26-point advantage to Mercedes in the championship thanks to Sergio Perez’s first victory for the team. “The bigger issue that we have to deal with is that in the last two races we haven’t been good enough,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said.“Not fast enough, we’ve made mistakes, we struggle to switch the tyres on and we’ve been on the back-foot through free practice.“We know the level it takes to win championships and we’re not at that level right now so we need to re-group and come back performing the way we know that we can.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Binotto: Ferrari ‘expected better’ from “difficult” F1 Azerbaijan GPaccImages.createImage(); Binotto: Ferrari ‘expected better’ from “difficult” F1 Azerbaijan GP“We have the team, the car and the drivers to win this but we need to be tough and honest with ourselves over the next few days. We’ve had days like this before and each time we’ve come back strong and we’ll look do that in France.”2822861.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was critical of his side’s display in Monaco and Baku, calling it “just not acceptable”.”What I take away is we must bring our A game to fight for this championship, and our car was not there all weekend,” he added.“Operationally we just need to perform faultlessly and all of us haven’t done that the last two weekends.”Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); How Perez passed the Red Bull F1 test those before him failedaccImages.createImage(); How Perez passed the Red Bull F1 test those before him failedAnd Wolff conceded that the races in Monaco and Baku were the “toughest” of his career to date.“Not having performance in Monaco, Valtteri who would have made it solidly onto the podium – but needing a pit stop of 36 hours is not really a great achievement for the standards we are setting ourselves,” he said.“And then [we had] a car that was almost all sessions [in Baku] nowhere. To be honest cruising in third was OK, but it’s just not acceptable that we are not getting the car into a performance position after the start or at the pitstops.”4“We are losing seconds over seconds to get the car in a happy window where it functions. It just takes too long.”Mercedes is hoping to return to form when F1 heads to more traditional tracks with an upcoming triple-header of races in France and Austria, circuits that have traditionally suited the Mercedes car.
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