Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the São Paulo Grand Prix was ‘stunning’, with the Briton putting in a sublime performance to climb from the back of the grid in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying to finish fifth before starting tenth and winning Sunday’s main event.
Hamilton had been disqualified from Qualifying on Friday evening due to a technical infringement surrounding his Drag Reduction System (DRS), but he put in two excellent drives, the first coming from twentieth on the grid to finish fifth on Saturday.
He took another five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, but again he was a man on a mission, and he fought through all of his rivals, including title challenger Max Verstappen, to take his sixth victory of the season and the one hundred and first of his career.
Wolff, the Team Principal at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, says he could not have been prouder of the team in Brazil after overcoming such adversity. The team picked up forty points on Sunday thanks to Hamilton’s win and Valtteri Bottas’ third place, while the latter also took three additional points on Saturday by winning Sprint Qualifying.
“Last weekend in São Paulo was a triumph through adversity and I couldn’t be prouder of the fighting spirit from every member of our Team,” said Wolff. “Through each setback, our determination grew stronger, and this already close team grew tighter with every challenge thrown our way.
“Lewis completed a stunning victory, which will rightly be talked about for years to come. For us, that victory is just one important step on our journey and our goal is clear. The disqualification on Saturday though, and the potential loss of three points, doesn’t make the challenge to fight for the Championship any easier.
“On Valtteri, he performed excellently all weekend, his Sprint victory on Saturday and podium on Sunday showed the strength of our pairing; their teamwork was fantastic.”
“We have prepared as well as we can for a new track”
Wolff says the team are as motivated as ever to continue their race-winning form from Brazil this weekend in the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix, even though there are many unknowns coming into the weekend coming to a brand-new track, the Losail International Circuit.
“We arrive in Qatar for a fresh challenge, a brand-new circuit for F1 and one we can’t wait to race on,” he said. “We have prepared as well as we can for a new track and the need to maximise our learnings from the opening practice sessions will be as important as ever.
“The performance picture from circuit to circuit remains unpredictable but as Brazil showed, even on the back foot, this team will always be there fighting.
“The final race of a triple-header can sometimes test your energy levels but with just three races to decide both Championships, our motivation is greater than ever. Our focus is on channelling it in the most effective way.”