The double victory a week ago in Brazil remained a flash in the pan for Mercedes in the 2022 Formula 1 season. On Sunday, the works team of the German manufacturer landed back on solid ground at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the Yas Marina Circuit for the season finale. George Russell finished the race in fifth place, well behind the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.

    Teammate Lewis Hamilton had to park his car in the pits three laps before the end of the race with a hydraulic defect – possibly a late consequence of a wild ride over a so-called “Sausage” curb on the opening lap, after which Hamilton had complained about the handling of the car. This is the first time in his Formula 1 career that the seven-time world champion has not won a race in a season

    “One has failed, the other tire has shrunk. This is a precise summary of the season,” says Mercedes Motorsport Director on the English channel of ‘Sky’ almost with a pinch of gallows humor.

    Right front tire collapses in Abu Dhabi

    Russell and Hamilton were only able to keep up with the Ferrari drivers on the first laps. “In the first laps we handled the tires well. The car looked strong, but then the right front tire collapsed,” says Wolff. “It’s something we could have predicted. We knew Abu Dhabi was going to be difficult for our car, so at least the correlation is there.”

    The bottom line is that Wolff notes that his successful team made a mistake with the W13 after the rule changes for the 2022 season. “It wasn’t good. We made all the mistakes that could be made. The car wasn’t as fast as it should be. Today we were the third fastest,” said the Austrian.

    Nevertheless, the model should not be hidden in a dark corner of the factory in the future, but should be preserved as a kind of memorial. “We will put this car at reception in Brackely and Brixworth so that we are reminded every single day of how difficult it can be,” announced Wolff.

    “Character-building season” for Mercedes

    “It was a character-building season. But we pushed hard. The engine kept getting better, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. On the chassis side, there were more bad moments than good moments. But the good ones were spectacular, like a week ago ” said Wolff.

    “At least we were able to get behind the race win,” says the Mercedes motorsport director and concludes with a declaration of war: “We’ll be back next year.”