After having the quickest car in Brazil, Mercedes were back to their traditional grid positions of fifth and sixth in Abu Dhabi, qualifying behind the two Red Bulls and two Ferraris.
Lewis Hamilton was over 0.6s off Max Verstappen’s pole time, although without a mistake on his final effort, would have closed the deficit.
The seven-time champion revealed after qualifying “bouncing is back with a vengeance”, with the return of porpoising costing Mercedes around 0.6s in a straight-line.
Reflecting on qualifying, Wolff said Mercedes’ third row lockout in Abu Dhabi was “one to put in the toilet.”
“Today, I just heard, is World Toilet Day,” he told Sky Sports. “So I think that result is one to put in the toilet. I think we just didn’t get the job done.
Wolff also explained how Mercedes opted for a high downforce setup which should give them a better car for Sunday’s race.
“I think we went backwards and [Ferrari] made a little step forwards,” Wolff added. “We went on a high downforce, high drag concept in order for the race car for tomorrow. It was just so slow on the straights that it didn’t give anything.”
“Yeah, but then we had to believe that for the race it’s better to have more downforce, to protect the tyres. Let’s see.”
Finally, Wolff was asked about the recurring brake issue which continues to plague Hamilton this year.
After qualifying, Hamilton said: “I had some brake problems – we’ve had it most of the year. “The brake discs separate and brake temperature so when you hit the brake the car pulls one direction. If you’re going into Turn 5, it’s pulling to the right and it’s a left-hand corner. It’s not ideal.”
Explaining the issue further, Wolff added: “We have this odd brake split situation that practically every qualifying session we start a lap and the brakes split – that means the left is not doing what the right does, and that unsettles the car. It’s a big one [to sort out] over the winter.”