Lewis Hamilton reflects on the F1 Qatar GP win and the start he had, as Toto Wolff reckons adversity has awoken a lion in title fight.
Simply, no one couldn’t stop Mercedes’ Hamilton in F1 Qatar GP on Sunday after a mega performance in Brazil last week. The Brit managed a solid victory from pole position, leading every single lap to be dominant over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
In doing so, Hamilton closed the gap to Verstappen in their fight for the F1 drivers’ world championship, at the track, the Dutchman fought his way to second after he was given a five-place grid penalty. He also took an extra point for the fastest lap.
The seven-time F1 champion had the pace and secured a crucial win of the season as Hamilton and Mercedes looked strong in doing so, even though Red Bull’s Verstappen has the points gap. It looks like the final round would be a decider for the world champion.
“These past three weeks have been so difficult for everyone with such big distances between all the races and the team did such an amazing job – particularly these past two races, and today, of course, the race was made a lot easier with the penalties that the guys obviously got for the mistake they made yesterday,” said Hamilton on the win.
“That made it a lot more straightforward and yeah, I was just managing the gap at the front and just keeping the car safe and trying to maximise and bring the car home.” Hamilton who was on a two-stop strategy, started the Qatar GP on medium tyres and had cars around him who were on softs which made it slightly tricky but it was fine.
But he was more looking behind and saw Verstappen was already up to fourth. “There was a little bit to gain from being on the Soft tyre but I generally felt I wasn’t massively under threat,” said Hamilton. “I managed to cover the ground just off the start and after that it was just head down and focused on trying to bridge the gap.
“I already saw that when I got to Turn 6, Max was already in fourth place, so I knew he was already past my team-mate, and at the time I obviously didn’t know that Valtteri had had such a bad getaway but after that I was just focused on trying to maximise the points for the team. So, I was feeling strong. I think they had relatively decent pace, but I was able to manage the pace, so it was no problem,” summed up Hamilton.
In this point, Mercedes’ boss Wolff was tankful for letting Red Bull woken up the lion. In Sao Paulo GP, Hamilton had a strenuous weekend though he had the pace, everything went against him in terms of how the weekend start for him.
He was excluded from Friday’s qualifying after his rear wing’s DRS gap was found to be more than the permitted 85mm and he had to start from the back. He ended up fifth and then started main race from 10th to eventually seal the win along with some controversy with regards to the Turn 4 incident.
Wolff believes that the Brazil weekend re-ignited his fire and the adversity risen the lion. “They have woken up the lion on the Saturday at Interlagos,” he said to written media. “He’s absolutely on it – brutal, and cold-blooded. This is the best in Lewis, and we’ve seen it in the past.
“He’s right there. I think when adversity happens, then it takes him to a place where he’s able to mobilise superhero powers. And it was the adversity that triggered that in Interlagos,” summed up Wolff.
The story was written by Oprah Sagal
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