MERCEDES struggled to match the pace of the dominant Red Bulls at the Belgian Grand Prix.
F1 preview: A lap of the Belgian Grand Prix
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Helmut Marko has poked fun at Toto Wolff after Red Bull gained time on their rivals despite the introduction of new rule changes. The FIA’s new technical directive to reduce porpoising, which Wolff had pushed for early on this season, came into effect this weekend.
The new changes were expected to bring Mercedes closer to their rivals but had the opposite effect as Red Bull pulled away. Lewis Hamilton was a staggering 1.8 seconds slower than Max Verstappen in qualifying while George Russell was unable to hold onto the leaders on race day.
In a swipe at Wolff, Marko said: “Maybe we will have to change something about the chassis because of Toto’s new guidelines. They worked very well this weekend! We thank him. It seems that Mercedes have fallen back even further!”
George Russell had accused Red Bull of running flexible floors last time out in Hungary but Red Bull stressed they were doing nothing wrong. Verstappen also took shots at Mercedes after qualifying as he laughed that the rule changes had made little difference to the pecking order.
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Helmut Marko has taken a swipe at Toto Wolff (Image: Getty)
He also claimed it was “no surprise” Mercedes were not competing at Spa after a difficult year. He said: “That technical directive has been very, very bad for us. As I said before, I didn’t expect it to make much difference to our car.
“Whether it does for Ferrari, I don’t know. And Mercedes is a bit short of top speed this year anyway, so it’s no surprise that they’re not competing here either.” Despite pushing for new rules to battle porpoising, Wolff appeared to make a U-turn ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Austrian claimed he did not want to see any more changes to the regulations as it could benefit other teams.
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Max Verstappen dominated in Spa (Image: Getty)
He commented: “I think we’d better not change any more technical directives because you can see what it did for Red Bull here. But it’s a slight difference in the floor. It’s not a huge deal but it will change the development a little bit.”
Russell was able to hold on to fourth to keep up his run of finishing in the top five at every race he has finished. Meanwhile, Hamilton was out of the race by the end of lap one after crashing with Fernando Alonso while battling for second.