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Toto Wolff

Wolff: Hamilton battled ‘negative thoughts’ as F1 weight finally lifted

Lewis Hamilton ended his 946-day winless streak in the British Grand Prix last weekend.

Hamilton Silverstone race
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has praised Lewis Hamilton for brushing aside his "negative thoughts" to claim victory in the British Grand Prix, something Wolff suspects is a "weight off his shoulders". 

Hamilton ended his 946-day winless streak in heroic fashion, by mastering the mixed conditions following two moderate spells of wet weather. 

The seven-time world champion has endured a horrific two-and-a-half years since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he controversially lost an eighth world title. Last weekend's British GP was Hamilton back to his very best. 

His outpour of emotion after winning was unlike anything ever seen from the 104-time race winner, with Wolff explaining how himself and the 39-year-old have supported each other through recent mental difficulties. 

"It's clear our relationship goes back a long time," Wolff told select media including RacingNews365

"Each of us has suffered at various stages, he's been there for me and, most recently, I've tried to do my contribution to his doubting at times. 

"And that's why it feels really good that that he's been able to put all the negative thoughts or the negativity aside, and come up with this performance and I think it's a weight off his shoulders."

'Justified' win

With George Russell having won the Austrian Grand Prix and started on pole at Silverstone, there is an underlying sense following Hamilton's victory that Mercedes are back. 

The Silver Arrows have trialled multiple new concepts since the introduction of the current regulations in 2022, although it now seems the Brackley-based outfit are back with a competitive package. 

However, Wolff accepts that Russell's victory in the Red Bull Ring came courtesy of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris clashing. Hamilton's win, was entirely on merit and pure pace, and feels like a more "justified" result. 

Despite Russell being fortunate in Austria, Mercedes left the Austrian GP with the belief the W15 was almost ready to win on merit; however, Wolff never thought it would happen as soon as Silverstone.

When asked if Hamilton's win feels more justified, Wolff said: "Yeah, it does feel that way because last weekend we weren't far off. When you look at the gap that we had before the crash it was maybe two tenths per lap.

"That is the closest we've been for a long time, on a track that we didn't like so much in the past and that kind of gave us hints that it could be getting much better. 

"Honestly, we didn't think it would be Silverstone because there's barely anything new, just small stuff that we put on the car. 

"We were more expecting Budapest or Spa, but I agree with George, we justified that what we do is right at the moment."

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