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Hamilton's Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama

Mercedes Anticipates Tension Between Verstappen, Norris

30/06/2024

Mercedes F1 predicts friction; Hamilton’s race takes a hit due to a forced off-track maneuver.

Toto Wolff could not hide his delight following the Austrian Grand Prix, his home race. The Mercedes F1 team director, victorious today with George Russell, praised the British driver’s strategic positioning to capitalize on the clash between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

“I think George did an excellent job staying within reach,” Wolff told Sky F1. “It was a third-place on pace, but when the two started battling at the front, we thought things might go wrong!”

Regarding the victory, he confirmed it was a morale booster for the team: “It’s been a long time coming! We’ve had some tough times but we’re coming back, the car is getting better and better. We were just two-tenths off the pace today, but you have to be there to take advantage, and George was there to do just that. It feels good.”

Lewis Hamilton was less fortunate, as Wolff noted: “The penalty was harsh at the first corner, having to give up the position to Sainz, and the five-second penalty was tough but that’s the rule. And the two-tenths lost due to damage didn’t help.”

“One of the dumbest things I’ve done in F1!”

About his radio intervention during the clash at the front, which Russell curtly responded to, the Austrian admitted his timing was very poor to speak to his driver.

“It’s seriously one of the dumbest things I’ve done in 12 years of Formula 1! I saw the two touch, I pressed the button while he was braking from 320 km/h to almost zero. I’m embarrassed, but we were all excited to see the victory unfolding.”

Can Mercedes consistently challenge for victory? Wolff is hopeful, with upgrades planned for the next GP at Silverstone: “I think we’re getting closer, the last two or three races, Ferrari wasn’t competitive.”

“But there are four strong teams, Max is above everyone else but Norris was close. We hope to bring performance to the car at Silverstone, we’re bringing upgrades and we hope to compete at our own pace.”

Hamilton’s Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama

Hamilton's Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama

Lewis Hamilton finished just off the podium in Austria, after a race complicated by a first-lap collision with Carlos Sainz. The Mercedes F1 driver was forced wide by his rival and had to let him pass, which cost him time in his first stint. He later received a penalty for crossing the pit entry line.

“It wasn’t the cleanest weekend for me. I sustained some damage early in the race because Sainz and I touched, there’s a mark, and that’s why I went off. Unfortunately, this compromised my race,” Hamilton lamented.

“Congratulations to George and the team. Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth truly deserves this result. They have worked so hard to improve the performance of the car, and we are beginning to close in more and more at the front. We’ve put in so much effort that achieving such a result is a well-deserved reward for everyone’s efforts.”

Now, Hamilton is looking to bounce back in Great Britain, in front of his home crowd. The Silverstone circuit could favour the W15, which will also receive upgrades at this venue.

“We now turn our attention to Silverstone. It’s always a very special weekend and I’m eager to see all the fans there. It’s a track that should, hopefully, suit us a bit better than here in Austria, so let’s see what we can do.”

Hamilton's Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama

Hamilton’s Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama. Hamilton’s Race Compromised by Off-Track Drama

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