‘They woke up the lion’ – Wolff says Hamilton showing his ‘superhero powers’ after pair of crushing wins
After his preclusion from fitting the bill for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Lewis Hamiltons title possibilities were not looking ruddy. In any case, following prevailing consecutive successes in Brazil and Qatar, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff accepts that the “lion” in Hamilton has been well and genuinely woken up.
It was a back wing encroachment in Sao Paulo that saw Hamilton lose his P1 from qualifying, dropping him to the rear of the network for the Sprint. Since that second, however, Hamiltons been relentless, flooding to P5 in the Sprint prior to winning the Sao Paulo Grand Prix while Hamilton was distant in Qatar, as he asserted a lights-to-hail triumph over title rival Max Verstappen, to move inside eight places of the Dutchmans title lead.
And according to Wolff, it was that disqualification in Interlagos that was the catalyst for Hamilton’s sterling performances currently.
“He’s totally in the zone… they woke up the lion,” said Wolff. “They have woken up the lion on the Saturday in Interlagos. He’s absolutely on it, brutal and cold-blooded. And this is the best in Lewis. We’ve seen it in the past, he’s right there.
“When adversity happens, it takes him to a place where he’s able to mobilise superhero powers, and it was the adversity that triggered that in Interlagos.”
Regardless of Hamiltons squashing execution in Qatar, Wolff conceded he couldnt be 100% happy with Mercedes weekend, with Verstappen ready to complete second briefly back to back race in spite of getting a punishment that dropped him to P7 on the network, while he additionally asserted the reward point for quickest lap.
Then, at that point, there was the destiny of Hamiltons colleague Valtteri Bottas, who persevered through a repulsiveness race, taking his own lattice punishment prior to dropping toward the beginning from P6 to P11, then, at that point, moving back up the request just to experience a penetrate and in the end resign the vehicle.
That result permitted Red Bull to move to inside five marks of Mercedes constructors lead. Be that as it may, as indicated by Wolff, given Mercedes disappointing beginning to 2021 pre season testing, he was glad just to be in the battle in the two titles at this phase of the period.
“It’s funny because the initial feeling is bittersweet,” said Wolff after the race. “Both championships are so important now. With Lewis it was great – the one point [that Verstappen took for fastest lap] is a bit annoying, but it’s great he won the race, and the good news is the car is really fast. It seemed to be in a happy spot, he controlled the race from the front and that’s a good indication from what’s 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,” added Wolff. “Fell back right after the start into no-man’s land, recovered, really on course for a podium, then was the first one to have a puncture at the beginning of the lap and then there was no downforce anymore and we retired it. I mean it doesn’t go any worse.
“[But] if you would have told us [at the start of the season that the title fight] is going to go to Saudi Arabia or to the end of the season, we would have taken that. I think we started on the back foot, we just weren’t good enough, the regulations didn’t go our way, and you have to take it on the chin.
Asked, meanwhile, if he now felt in control of the championships given Mercedes’ recent momentum, Wolff replied: “I wish! I really enjoy the ride because it’s good fun, really, when it’s so tough. This is exactly why we’re in this sport and I enjoy every minute.”