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F1 | Spanish GP | Wolff says Hamilton’s performance was “stunning” in Barcelona

Following a positive albeit imperfect Grand Prix weekend for Mercedes, Toto Wolff praises his drivers strong performances to bring home a strong result for the team

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F1 | Spanish GP | Wolff says Hamilton’s performance was “stunning” in Barcelona
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - Motorlat

Mercedes' upgraded W13 was debuted in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the upgraded car moving the team ahead of the midfield and closer to the frontrunners. Team boss Toto Wolff had his say on the race which ultimately nearly ended in disaster as due to a developing power unit issue on Hamilton’s car, potentially caused by his first lap collision with Kevin Magnussen.

“We saw this [water leak] growing during the race. It was not clear if we would finish and at the end it was literally just making it over the line. [We are] not sure if we damaged the engine,” Wolff said.

Commenting on Hamilton’s first lap incident, which led to the seven-time champ suggesting the team retire the car, Wolff said the mileage was very valuable to the team.

“It’s always the call when you have basically lost the race, to decide what is the benefit of continuing. I think from the driver’s perspective you think ‘that can’t be possible, I’m 50 seconds behind the leaders’, but it’s still valuable mileage.

“At the end, his race pace was stunning, he would have raced for the win.

“I’m happy that we didn’t retire Lewis [Hamilton] because that was the most valuable race for us, to compare the two cars. To compare setups and tyres.”

Wolff seemed surprised by the teams race pace on Sunday, admitting in the opening phase of the race he didn’t believe they had the pace to follow the leaders.

“On the first stint, we need to look at how we managed the tyre, it looked like we had no chance to actually follow the pace. Even without DRS Max [Verstappen] was able to overtake with the new tyre. But then somehow the car flipped in terms of performance.

“We saw Lewis [Hamilton] storming to the front on same age tyres and then we realised there is something to learn here. Suddenly we unlocked the potential by just tweaking things in the stops.”

Speaking on George Russell’s performance, Wolff said his drivers’ defence was “unbelievable”.

“His defence was unbelievable, how he positioned the car, defending and then letting him dive around the apex of turn two so he couldn’t make the inside for turn four.

“He is always in the right spots on the track with a car that at that stage was more than half a second slower. So I’m really happy to see him racing like this, and as you say we have two unbelievable drivers. They’re the right guys to sort our car out and come back to the front.”

An upbeat Wolff summed up the Spanish Grand Prix as better than expected, with the team happy with their improvements.

“It’s better than expected because I am always so pessimistic about things. We’ve pulled clear from the midfield, at least in Barcelona here, and caught up half a second to the frontrunners. We were a second off and now it’s half a second. There is more to come, more understanding now which we can unlock in the car, I’m sure about that.”

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