Wolff Applauds Hamilton’s Fighting Spirit


- Grant Whittington

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has commended seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton for powering the squad forward through what Wolff has described as a challenging and difficult year.

Wolff’s comments came after Hamilton finished in second place at the French Grand Prix on the weekend. The team principal said the Brit is currently having to demonstrate an entirely different set of skills compared to previous seasons – all due to the hardships the team is facing with the car.

Good But Not Good Enough

At Le Castellet, the team achieved their best result of the season so far, with Hamilton second and teammate George Russell third. While Mercedes continues to struggle to keep up with the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari, they returned their first double podium result on the weekend.

Wolff said Hamilton’s battle is currently a very different one compared to when he was fighting for the title. Instead of racing for pace and a title, the fight right now is with the car, he explained.

Despite the issues with the car, Hamilton still managed to remain ahead of Max Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Pérez, and maintained an ongoing gap between the two cars. According to Wolff, Hamilton has been making a positive difference in a year plagued by machinery nothing short of wanting.

Wolff said the situation right now is that of a seven-time F1 world champion stuck in a car simply not able to cut the mustard in a world-championship kind of way. Even so, Hamilton is pushing the car to its limits and on the weekend, made for a delivery without fault, he said.

But despite the best efforts of Hamilton and Russell, a ninth consecutive constructors’ title is now no longer in Mercedes’ reach.

Even though they are now 126 points behind Red Bull, and trailing Ferrari by 44 points, Wolff said he is proud of the team and the incredible character they have shown.

Wolff said Mercedes’ biggest asset right now is its team-culture. The right mindset and immense persistence when times are difficult is something to commend, he continued.

FIA Admits Hardware Fault 

The FIA has in the meantime confirmed a hardware issue during the virtual safety car period towards the end of the French Grand Prix.

At the time, Perez and Russell had been locked in a tight battle for third place. While Perez had expressed his unhappiness about the lagging VSC display, the FIA said each driver had been supplied with the same information at the same time, and that Russell had responded quicker than his opponent.

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