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‘Fairytale’ win inspires Hamilton to believe in more victories with Mercedes
F1 Sport

‘Fairytale’ win inspires Hamilton to believe in more victories with Mercedes

Toto Wolff has described Lewis ­Hamilton’s victory on Sunday at the British Grand Prix as a fairytale, while the seven-time world champion is now optimistic he can take more ­victories this season and end his time with Mercedes on a high.

Hamilton took the flag at Silverstone with a mighty drive in tricky wet and dry conditions to end a win-drought stretching back to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in December 2021. His car is now increasingly close to the frontrunners, Red Bull and McLaren, after two years of ­struggling for performance.

Hamilton will join Ferrari at the end of this season, a decision that shocked Wolff and Mercedes at the time but the team principal was enormously pleased they managed to deliver in Hamilton’s last home race with the team for a record ninth win at the circuit.

“It was so difficult over the last two years that we couldn’t really find performance, we couldn’t give the drivers a car that enabled them to go for the victories,” the Austrian said. “To make him win again, at the British Grand Prix, in his last race for Mercedes here, it’s almost like a little fairytale. You couldn’t have scripted it better.”

Hamilton said after the race, when he beat Red Bull’s Max ­Verstappen into second and ­McLaren’s Lando Norris into third, that he had begun to have doubts he could win again and admitted he had struggled with his mental health.

Wolff confirmed he had supported the 39-year-old through the difficult periods and that he expected him to emerge even stronger. “Our ­relationship goes back a long time,” he said. “Each of us has suffered at various stages. He’s been there for me and most recently I’ve tried to do my contribution to his doubting, at times.

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Toto Wolff on a scooter at SilverstoneView image in fullscreen

“That’s why it feels really good he’s been able to put all the negative thoughts, all the negativity, aside and come up with this performance. I think it’s a weight off his shoulders.”

Wolff revealed the team will bring further upgrades to their car for the next two rounds, in Hungary and ­Belgium, and that he felt they had now definitively understood how to improve its pace.

“When you consider that five races ago we weren’t even a contender for the podium, which looked like the third year of non-performance, then it clicked,” he said. “Suddenly everything that didn’t make sense made sense and the results of the development directions are back like in the old days. We are finding performance, we’re putting it on the car, and it translates into lap time.”

Though George Russell, who was on pole, had to retire because of a water-system failure, Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying at Silverstone. They appear to have passed Ferrari in performance, but Hamilton denied it was a bittersweet moment to be leaving the team just as they were coming good.

“When we started the season we had a car where we weren’t going anywhere near Red Bull,” he said. “The fact we’ve really all come together, everyone’s done such a great job to get the car into a place where we’re feeling much more comfortable and really changes from the foundation from last year. So not leaving on a low, but leaving on a high, which has been our goal.”

Source: theguardian.com