Toto Wolff has insisted Mercedes stars Lewis Hamilton and George Russell can still challenge for the F1 title after a strong weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes team principal said the team have ‘reasons to believe’ they can challenge for honours despite their poor start.
The Austrian’s newfound confidence also came after Ferrari ‘didn’t score a lot of points,’ which has helped bring them back into the game. Russell started the weekend 45 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc.
However, a retirement for the Monegasque saw Max Verstappen take over the lead. This cut the gap for the Mercedes rookie who now lies just 36 points behind the championship lead.
Hamilton has also cut the gap to the lead by a handful of points despite only finishing fifth. Wolff, who has often cut a despondent figure this season, said: “Can we fight for a world championship? You bet we can.
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Verstappen would have had at least 36 extra points without failures at the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix. Meanwhile, Leclerc’s retirement yesterday robbed him of an almost certain race win which would have seen him extend his championship lead to at least 26 points over Verstappen.
Hamilton was also optimistic about the team’s chances after the race. He added: “We’ve made a lot of improvements with the car. The race pace is much, much better… the car is much nicer in the race.
“This is a great sign we’re going in the right direction. Without [my start], I would have been fighting the Red Bulls. That gives me great hope that at some stage we’ll be fighting for the win.”