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Toto Wolff

Wolff: 'Angry' Hamilton will be determined to hunt down Verstappen

Toto Wolff has backed Lewis Hamilton to recover from his qualifying defeat to Max Verstappen in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton Abu Dhabi
To news overview © Mercedes

Toto Wolff is expecting an "angry" Lewis Hamilton to come back fighting after missing out on pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton led practice at the modified Yas Marina Circuit but he and Mercedes were overhauled by Max Verstappen and Red Bull in qualifying, as the pair gear up for Sunday's title-deciding showdown.

Hamilton and Verstappen are tied on points in the championship standings, though Verstappen holds the advantage through victory countback.

Hamilton will be "angry"

Wolff admitted that Red Bull simply did the better job in qualifying by getting the most out of their tyres and using a tow between Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

"They got the tyres in the perfect window in the last run and the tow functioned flawlessly - that's why they're on pole," Wolff reflected to Sky Sports.

Asked about the conversations he will be having with Hamilton overnight, Wolff added: "I think there's nothing you need to say. I think he's gonna be angry, and that's good, and [he'll be] motivated for tomorrow to just hunt him [Verstappen] down.

"We are on the back foot and sometimes you need to see the positive. Sometimes that's not bad as a starting point."

Wolff confident over tyre strategy

Wolff is more optimistic about Mercedes' chances in the race, having opted for the more durable Medium tyre to start with Hamilton, while Verstappen and Red Bull have committed to Softs.

"I'd much rather be starting on the Medium," Wolff went on to state.

"We will have a slight disadvantage on the start, I guess, and the first six or seven laps, if [Verstappen] drives fast.

"We can go longer. We can go for aggressive undercut, also, and try to control track position. Overnight we will be running lots of programmes and algorithms."

Wolff admitted that he was impressed by Red Bull's race-pace during Friday practice, but remains hopeful of getting the job done.

He added: "Whoever's gonna be faster tomorrow will win the race, irrespective of who starts on which tyre. We just need to need to build on that and recoup, and then hopefully come out on top tomorrow."

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