After his exclusion from fitting into the bill for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton’s title chances did not look rosy. In any case, after prevailing back-to-back successes in Brazil and Qatar, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff accepts that the “lion” in Hamilton has genuinely awakened.
It was a back wing invasion in Sao Paulo that saw Hamilton lose his P1 from the standings, leaving him at the back of the grid for the Sprint. Since that second though, Hamiltons have been relentless, swamping P5 in the Sprint before winning the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, while Hamilton was distant in Qatar, as he claimed a lights-to-hail triumph over his title rival. Max Verstappen, to move inside. eight places from the leadership of the Dutch title.
And according to Wolff, it was that disqualification at Interlagos that was the catalyst for Hamilton’s excellent performances today.
“It’s totally in the zone…they woke up the lion,” Wolff said. “They have woken up the lion on Saturday in Interlagos. He is absolutely into it, brutal and cold-blooded. And this is the best in Lewis. We’ve seen him in the past, he’s right there.
“When adversity strikes, it takes him to a place where he can mobilize superhero powers, and it was adversity that triggered that at Interlagos.”
Despite Hamilton’s crushing run in Qatar, Wolff admitted he couldn’t be 100% happy with Mercedes’ weekend, with Verstappen set to complete the second race briefly in a row despite taking punishment that dropped him to P7 in the net, while also claiming the reward point for the fastest lap.
Then, at that point, there was the fate of Hamilton’s colleague, Valtteri Bottas, who persevered through a repulsion race, taking his own lattice punishment before initially falling from P6 to P11, then, at that point, regressing. in the request. only to experience a penetration and finally give up the vehicle.
That result allowed Red Bull to move within the five marks of Mercedes’ constructors’ leadership. Be that as it may, as Wolff said, given the disappointing start to Mercedes’ 2021 pre-season testing, he was glad to be in the battle for the two titles at this stage of the season.
“It’s fun because the initial feeling is bittersweet,” Wolff said after the race. “Both championships are very important now. With Lewis it was great: the only point [that Verstappen took for fastest lap] it’s a bit annoying, but it’s great that he won the race, and the good news is that the car is very fast. He seemed to be in a happy place, he controlled the race from the front and that’s a good indication of things to come in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
“If you can say about the day in the office, if you can call it hell, that was Valtteri’s day,” Wolff added. “He crashed right after the start in no man’s land, he recovered, really on his way to a podium, then he was the first to have a puncture at the start of the lap and then there was no downforce any more and we took him off. I mean it’s no worse.
“[But] if you had told us [at the start of the season that the title fight] is going to go to Saudi Arabia or at the end of the season, we would have taken it. I think we got off to a bad start, we just weren’t good enough, the regulations weren’t going our way and you have to take it slow.
Meanwhile, when asked if he now felt in control of the championships given Mercedes’ recent push, Wolff replied: “Hopefully! I really enjoy the ride because it’s so much fun, really, when it’s so hard. That’s exactly why we’re in this sport and I enjoy every minute of it.”