Lewis Hamilton’s inconsistent performance across the Monaco Grand Prix weekend is still a mystery, says Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff.
Hamilton was quickest in opening practice, but then failed to make it out of Q2 – in part due to Stoffel Vandoorne’s late crash – as problems getting his tyres into the right operating window proved costly.
In the race, he showed good pace after his pitstop to recover from 14th on the grid to finish seventh, while his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth.
Wolff, who has described the W08 “a bit of a diva”, could not explain why Hamilton was stronger on race day.
“Without touching the car, we have seen a car that was very difficult at the beginning, and Lewis didn’t like it, and he said that,” he said.
“After the pitstop, suddenly we were the quickest car out there, on defensive modes.
“You could say the Ferraris were switched off at that stage but we were too.
“I had a short chat with him (post-race), he said the grip was back – why that is, remains an Italian mystery.
“We need to understand it because Ferrari is able to understand and race the car in these conditions.”
Wolff hopes Monaco is a one-off, like when Mercedes struggled for performance the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, but admitted the world champion team has plenty of work to do.
“Our target would be it’s the worst race of the season, hopefully, and an outlier like we had in Singapore,” he said.
“It’s just about bringing the tyres into the right window.
“We have a fast car, but she doesn’t like the tyres, and that is something we need to understand.
“Ferrari is able to put the car on the floor and it goes straight from the beginning till the end, with both drivers equally competitive or uncompetitive.
“That has been different all through the season for us.
“I have confidence in the group of people so the more mileage we do, the more data we collect, the better we will understand.
“Looking forward, I don’t know if we will have more difficult weekends or not.
“Normally, the longer it goes, the better it gets for us.”