Wolff asserts that Mercedes had the pace to fight for a podium but both drivers’ progress was hampered by a spate of incidents that left them near the tail end of the top 10.
“Lewis got hit twice and George had a mistake. That race summarises our season,” Wolff lamented. “A quick car that is able to fight for a podium. Lewis was doing [Charles] Leclerc’s times as well in free air.
“But then obviously he was involved in two accidents, and then George with Max, [so] you can’t win, you can’t be in the front.”
Hamilton attributed the turning point in his race to an unfortunate moment where he only discovered the puncture from the clash as he drove past the pit lane entry line.
“I was feeling great, tyres were feeling good, the pace was strong. And I went up the inside of Piastri, I don’t really know exactly what happened, but obviously I got that hit from behind, I think it was a racing incident,” the seven-time World Champion reflected.
“It was just a thud, I didn’t have a puncture immediately so I was accelerating and just as I got alongside the pit lane entry, I felt the rear was moving and I was like, ‘it’s too late to come in’, so I had to do a whole slow lap and lost, I must have lost like 40 seconds or something with everything.
“But grateful that I was able to come back and apologies to all the team for the poor qualifying yesterday. There are strengths within our car, but sometimes it’s just really hard to get the performance out of it.”
Leclerc’s run to second and Carlos Sainz’s recovery to sixth saw Ferrari outscore Mercedes by 16 points in Las Vegas, reducing the margin to only four points.
Ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend, Wolff concedes that winding up second or third in the Constructors’ Championship is largely insignificant to him.
“I think we’re going there pretty much equal on points. With a proper race director, so that should be fine,” Wolff remarked in relation to Hamilton’s contentious 2021 title defeat.
“And then let’s race. It’s all down to the last weekend. They are very quick and done a good job. I think we could have been on par today. But the result shows something different. So let’s race.
“To be honest, it’s good to have P2 as a positive to finish the season but P2, P3 for me there is little… it doesn’t make me particularly cheer [in] any way.”