Wolff: Hamilton probably had 'fastest race car' in Spanish GP


Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton's remarkable comeback drive in the Spanish Grand Prix showed that he probably had the "fastest race car" on the grid in Barcelona.

Hamilton who had qualified sixth suffered a puncture on the opening lap following a contact with Haas' Kevin Magnussen that dropped the Mercedes driver all the way down to the penultimate spot in the running order.

The seven-time F1 world champion was so in doubt of his chances of scoring points that he suggested to his team that he would be better off throwing in the towel and sparing his car's engine.

But the Mercedes pitwall encouraged its driver to keep going, suggesting that a top-eight finish was possible based on his projected pace.

As he put his head down and carved his way through the field, Hamilton's remarkable effort carried him into the points and all the way up to fourth, from where he lost a position to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz due to a water leak issue that forced both Mercedes drivers to "lift and coast" in the closing stages of the 66-lap race.


"With Lewis we had probably the fastest race car today," said a very impressed Wolff.

"It was 15 seconds behind at the end and he caught all the way up. At stages in the race he was the quickest," and that shows the potential that the car has."

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Wolff said that Hamilton's outstanding charge had not only yielded some solid points, but it had been a significant "morale" booster for both team and driver.

"The dynamic between the driver and team is something that is so important that it’s clear," said the Austrian.

"Having an accident at the early stage of the race and you’re saying to yourself, ‘not again’ and you’re not featuring because I think he was 38 seconds or so behind the last cars after his stop and that’s basically game over.

"But then him going and then showing this very good pace was important, not only for his morale, but also our morale. And who would have thought that he climbed all the way to fourth, before the problem came up?

"That looked like a world championship-winning race car that he was driving, that would have not been possible in the previous races.

"That reminded me of last year and the years before when our car is really on the top of its game. And the driver."


The upgrade package introduced by Mercedes in Spain has evidently proven to be a game-changer for the Brackley squad, although Wolff cautioned that the team still had some learning to do.

"We are literally learning by doing," he said. "These regulations have caught us off-guard, in a way, and step by step we’re understanding what we need to do in order to bring that the performance back into the car.

"We’ve seen another big step this weekend, probably we halved the disadvantage to the front-runners. But still, there is lots of way to go in order to be right up there in the fight."

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