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Paffett: Qualifying a ‘big disappointment’

Photo by Daimler AGLong-time Mercedes driver Gary Paffett has called his qualifying results at the Hungaroring ‘a big disappointment’ after the Brit could only manage 21st on the grid for Sunday’s third round of the season.

Paffett qualified down the order after making a mistake on his final qualifying run at the chicane, and the Brit admits that the lack of raw speed in his AMG C-Coupé means he is having to push the car to its very limits.

“Qualifying was a big disappointment,” said Paffett. “We’re still having problems matching the opposition for speed. Consequently, we have to get every lap absolutely perfect to set a half-decent time. I didn’t manage to do that today, and that’s why I’m disappointed with myself.

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“I made one error on my fast lap that cost me a lot of time, so we’ve got a big job ahead of us tomorrow. The positive aspect is that I feel we’ve made a small step forward in understanding the car.”

Paffett is not the only Mercedes-Benz driver struggling for pace, with five of the maruqe’s seven cars being the first to be knocked out of qualifying in Q1. Seven of the bottom eight cars on the grid are Mercedes, with Pascal Wehrlein being the best qualifier for the manufacturer in only 16th position.

In Q1, only Robert Wickens was able to get within a second of the leading pace at the front.

“That was one of my better qualifying sessions this year, as I went through into Q2 for the first time,” said Wickens. “I finally had a trouble-free session here in Budapest, but we know that we still have plenty to do.

“My lap in Q1 was good, in Q2 though, we didn’t perhaps go about things the right way, but all in all, we have to deal with our situation in a realistic manner and can be satisfied with our work so far this weekend.”

Mercedes’ Head of DTM Marketing and Communications Wolfgang Schattling admits that the marque still faces difficult times with its fundamental lack of pace in the dry.

“We are not where we want to be, sadly, but we had already expected as much before the weekend,” admitted Schattling.

“Under normal conditions, we would not have been fast enough to win the last race previously in Oschersleben either. Christian’s victory there came about through the combination of perfect strategy, a strong team performance and the right weather conditions.

“We cannot yet achieve that level of performance in the dry, but we are working hard to improve our performance step by step.”

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