If there’s one thing Mercedes can do is going big – either they win majestically or they miserably fail.
They rarely have bad weekends, but when they do, you bet everyone is going to talk about it. This is exactly what happened during the Monaco Grand Prix; as Team Principal Toto Wolff very blatantly called it, it was “one of Mercedes' worst race days in recent history”.
During the post-race debrief, with selected media including MotorLat, Lewis Hamilton commented their Sunday saying “he was glad the day was over”.
“There’s a long, long way to go,” said Hamilton.
“We can’t afford another weekend like this”
“…but I’m grateful I finished and got some points, fastest lap; every point you get on a bad weekend like this can hopefully count towards something at the end.”
The first four GPs of the season saw wheel-to-wheel battles between seven-time World Champion Hamilton and his main contender, Max Verstappen. While the Dutchman emerged ahead of him and is now leading the championship by four points, if you ask Hamilton whether he is worried a poor weekend can hinder the championship battle, he has no second thoughts.
“No,” he replied, “This is certainly not the closest championship of my career, I’ve been racing since I was eight. Each one is different in its own way, but I don’t think it’s worse or better”.
Hamilton has featured in some particularly close championship fights: losing out by a point to Kimi Raikkonen in his debut season in 2007; winning by one point for his maiden triumph the following year, and losing out by five points to teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016.
Clearly, his answer, when he was asked whether 2021 is the closest title battle he’s faced, was to be expected; yet it is going to be far from easy and “every point will count in the end”, this is why he was so grateful to have finished the race at least in the top 10 and with the fastest lap.
“It’s going to be tough. I told you at the beginning Red Bull have got a championship-winning car, and they’re going to be very hard to beat”.
On the other side of the coin, Red Bull had an amazing time leaving the Principality at the head of constructors' standings for the first time since 2013 and with Max Verstappen leading the drivers' championship for the first time ever.
Of course, as the Dutchman remarked, what matters is being there once the season comes to a close.
“If it’s there at the end of the season, that would be great. There is a long way to go. Of course, it’s great to bounce back after the last two races where the gap got bigger. Yeah, we still have to work hard, because we know that Mercedes on normal tracks are the ones to beat. But a good, smooth weekend overall I think and this is a great boost for the whole team going forward”.
This was also a way to let “actions speak louder than words”, according to the Dutch driver.
“I think that’s a good lesson after this weekend. You know you have to talk on the track. That’s what I like and yes, we, as a team, so far, made the smallest mistakes and that’s why we are ahead. So I hope we can keep that going for the rest of the season”.
These declarations come after the seven-time World Champion alluded that Verstappen’s “mistakes” have been the result of the Dutchman having a point to prove.
Red Bull Team Boss Christian Horner didn’t take long to respond, suggesting that Hamilton’s comments are an indication that he may be feeling the heat from Verstappen’s passes.
Hamilton, on his side, quickly brushed off the issue saying he is “not playing mind games”.
“They [Red Bull] did a great job this weekend but that’s that…but there are still 18 races to come, we had good races too”.
We’ll see how much closer and heated the battle can turn. In the while, Round 6 of 23 begins on the weekend of June 6th in Baku.