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Toto Wolff

Why Wolff believes victory was possible for Hamilton

Toto Wolff was convinced that Lewis Hamilton's race pace meant he would have been a candidate for victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, without his first-lap collision.

Hamilton Spain
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To news overview © Mercedes F1

Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton would have competed for the race victory in Spain without his opening-lap tangle with Kevin Magnussen.

The Mercedes driver, running in sixth place after the opening corners of the first lap, was challenged by Haas rival Magnussen around the outside of Turn 4.

However, a collision between the two drivers sent Magnussen into the gravel trap and Hamilton was forced to pit after puncturing a tyre.

From there, Hamilton recovered to run as high as fourth place before being passed by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz due to reported water leak in the power unit.

Wolff: Hamilton's late-race pace was stunning

Speaking after the race about Hamilton's recovery drive, Wolff defended the decision not to retire the car and claimed that the Briton's pace would have been enough to challenge for the victory.

"It's always the decision [to make] when you've basically lost the race to decide if there is a benefit of continuing," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"I think from a driver's perspective, [you're thinking] that can't be possible, I'm 50 seconds behind the leaders.

"It's still available mileage, we are never giving up anyway, and at the end his race pace was stunning, he would have raced for the win."

Wolff added that the power unit problems meant it was a nervy finish to the race, and the team need to confirm if there is any lasting damage to the power unit.

"We saw this [problem] growing during the race and it was not clear whether or not we would finish, and at the end it was literally just making it over the line," Wolff added.

"I'm not sure if we damaged the engine."

Wolff justifies decision not to retire Hamilton

The Mercedes Team Principal added that he believed the decision to keep Hamilton in the race was justified for multiple reasons.

Along with him recovering to score 10 points for fifth place, Hamilton was able to display a strong upturn in pace and tyre management in the second half of the race, something Wolff attributed to 'pit stop tweaks'.

"I think on the first stint, we need to look up how we managed the tyre," said Wolff.

"It looked like we had no chance to follow the pace. Even without DRS, Max [Verstappen] was able to overtake [Russell] with the new tyre.

"But then somehow the car flipped in terms of performance. We saw Lewis storming to the front with same-age tyres and then we realised, 'Okay, there is something to learn here', and then suddenly we unlocked the potential by just tweaking things at the pit-stop.

"I'm happy that we didn't retire Lewis, because that was the most valuable race for us to compare the two cars, to compare set-ups and tyres."

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F1 2022 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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