Mercedes will not prioritise extending Lewis Hamilton victory record in Abu Dhabi

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton with his head down. Mexico October 2022

Toto Wolff has said Mercedes will not be prioritising giving Lewis Hamilton the win in Abu Dhabi to keep his record alive.

The seven-time World Champion entered the sport in 2007 and since then, has recorded a race victory in every single season.

But that record is under serious threat with Mercedes having earned just one win in 2022 which came last time out in Sao Paulo and went to Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell.

All of this means that Hamilton has one final race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, in which he needs to win if he wants to keep his streak alive.

However, Mercedes have their own goals as they remain locked in a battle for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship with Ferrari. Currently just 19 points separate the two teams in favour of the Italian outfit.

With that in mind, Mercedes team boss Wolff has confirmed that they will not be prioritising giving Hamilton a win and even suggested the seven-time World Champion is not particularity bothered about the record.

“I think Lewis doesn’t need any prioritisation, and it’s not what he ever would want,” Wolff said, as reported by Motorsport.com.

“I think that he mentioned before that this record of winning a race in every single season, that is less of a priority for him.

“It’s more that we’re getting the car back to where it can be, and we’re racing for more race victories next year, and hopefully a championship.”

The Sao Paulo Grand Prix marked a turning point in the troubled season of Mercedes who started 2022 well off the pace and with a serious performance issue to now being streets ahead of the competitors at Interlagos.

Hamilton, who has made it clear the focus is now on 2023 and winning his eighth World Championship, could have already extended his victory record had he been able to overtake Russell in the latter stages of Sunday’s race.

Following a Safety Car restart caused by Lando Norris, Hamilton was behind his team-mate at the front of the grid and was told by the team that the two were allowed to race.

But, unlike events at Alpine the previous day, the two kept their distance with Russell going on to finish well clear of Hamilton.

Mercedes chief strategist James Volwes suggested that both drivers kept it clean because they were aware of all the hard work that had gone into the car.

“They knew that if there was an accident, they would have to explain to 2,000 people at the factory why they let the team down,” the 43-year-old told Auto Motor und Sport.

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