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Toto Wolff

Wolff commends 'courageous' Hamilton after podium return

The Mercedes Team Principal heaped praise on Lewis Hamilton as he claimed second place in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Hamilton Mexico
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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has commended the "courageous" strategy that led to Lewis Hamilton securing second in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Hamilton bounced back from a disqualification in the United States with a third straight second place in Mexico, climbing from sixth on the grid.

The Mercedes driver managed to overtake Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz in the opening stages of the race, then later Charles Leclerc after a red flag restart, also being aided by Sergio Perez crashing out.

With the red flag coming on Lap 34 of 71, it meant teams faced a choice of the Hard C3 rubber that could easily run to the flag or the racier Medium tyres - with Hamilton and Mercedes opting for the latter with Leclerc on Hards.

On Lap 40, Hamilton scythed up the inside of Leclerc, dipping onto the grass at Turn 1 to seal second, behind race-winner Max Verstappen, as Wolff explained why Hamilton was forced to take Mediums.

Wolff explains 'killer' for Russell's race

"We couldn't really take the Hard because it was seven or eight laps older than our competitors," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.

"The Medium was pretty fresh having done a lap and a half, and it was holding on strong enough first stint.

"Charles [Leclerc] did 31 laps and didn't really drop off, so that's why we made the call. But it was a courageous call from the strategy team, and it paid off."

Team-mate George Russell finished in sixth, after getting overtaken by Lando Norris in the closing stages of the race.

Wolff believes the team needs to analyse why he was slower, despite being on the same strategy as Hamilton.

"We need to understand today what actually happened to George [Russell] because he was pushing very, very strong behind Sainz but so did Lewis [Hamilton]," said Wolff.

"Probably the killer was backing off. That's also a theory that the tyre just dropped [off] and he wasn't able to revitalise it."

F1 2023 Mexican Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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