Toto Wolff says that after Lewis Hamilton lost points to Max Verstappen in Turkey, the deficit is mostly offset by what the Red Bull driver lost in Russia.
Hamilton took a new internal combustion engine at the last race, which dropped him 10 places on the grid. But while he recovered to finish fifth, Verstappen’s podium meant he retook the World Championship lead from the Mercedes driver.
However, despite Verstappen’s complete engine change and rise back to finish P2 in Russia previously, Hamilton’s eight-point loss to his title rival was counteracted by the seven the Red Bull driver surrendered – and the reigning champion said recently he feels “very chilled” about the season’s run-in.
Mercedes team boss Wolff praised the work of Valtteri Bottas during his victory in Turkey – which denied Verstappen even more points alongside the Finn’s own success – while assessing Hamilton’s situation ahead of this weekend in Austin.
The first ever podium in Austin back in 2012 🤠
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“It was encouraging to see our positive performance momentum continue last time out in Turkey,” said Wolff.
“We haven’t scored back-to-back race wins in a little while, so naturally spirits have been high in the factories since we returned from Istanbul. That race win was also the 200th victory for Brixworth since they began their winning streak in 1997, which is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the passion and hard work of everyone at HPP.
“Istanbul was a dominant performance from Valtteri in tricky conditions, taking his first win of the season. A faultless drive from him and he was in control of the race from the very beginning. It’s a brilliant boost for him and the team heading into the final part of the season and helping us to extend our lead in the Constructors’ standings.
“For Lewis, the absolute view of Turkey is that he lost one point more than Max did in the previous race in Russia with a similar engine change, which we can live with. The relative view when you’re in the heat of a race is to always want another position, to score more points – that’s who we are as racers and we wouldn’t want that competitive intensity any other way.
“This season has had so many twists and turns, so we are ready to react to whatever comes our way this weekend in Texas. We are excited to be back in Austin for the first time since 2019, it’s always a popular stop on the calendar and we can’t wait to see all the passionate American fans.
“The Circuit of the Americas is a fun track for the drivers. There are some really fast and flowing corners, plus some technical sections and good overtaking opportunities. It’s got a bit of everything and is a great track for racing, so I’m sure we are set for an entertaining grand prix.”
Planet F1 Verdict