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Wolff: Hamilton battled ‘negative thoughts’ as Formula 1 pressure finally eases

Wolff: Hamilton battled ‘negative thoughts’ as Formula 1 pressure finally eases
Wolff: Hamilton battled ‘negative thoughts’ as Formula 1 pressure finally eases

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has praised Lewis Hamilton for putting his “negative thoughts” aside to take victory in the British Grand Prix, in a move Wolff believes is “a weight off his shoulders”.

Hamilton heroically ended his 946-day winless streak by braving the changing conditions after two spells of moderately wet weather.

The seven-time world champion has endured a horrific two-and-a-half years since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he controversially lost an eighth world title. Last weekend’s British GP saw Hamilton back to his best.

The emotions he expressed after his victory were unprecedented for the 104-time winner of the race. Wolff explained how he and the 39-year-old have supported each other through recent mental health struggles.

“It is clear that our relationship has been going on for a long time,” Wolff told a number of media outlets, including RacingNews365.

“We have both suffered at different stages of our suffering, he was there for me and recently I have tried to do my bit to ease his doubts.

“And that’s why it feels so good that he’s been able to put all the negative thoughts and negativity aside and come out with this achievement. I think it’s taken a load off his shoulders.”

‘Right’ victory

With George Russell having won the Austrian Grand Prix and starting on pole at Silverstone, there is a sense that Mercedes are back after Hamilton’s win.

The Silver Arrows have trialled several new concepts since the current rules were introduced in 2022, but it appears the Brackley-based side are now back with a competitive package.

However, Wolff acknowledges that Russell’s victory at the Red Bull Ring was down to the collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. Hamilton’s victory was entirely on merit and pure speed and feels like a “justified” result.

Despite Russell’s good fortune in Austria, Mercedes left the Austrian GP confident that the W15 was close to winning on its own merits. Wolff, however, never expected this to happen at Silverstone.

When asked if Hamilton’s win feels more justified, Wolff said: “Yes, it does, because last week we weren’t far off. If you look at the gap we had before the crash, it was maybe two tenths per lap.

“We haven’t come any closer to that for a long time, on a circuit that we didn’t like that much in the past and that made us think it could be much better.

“To be honest, we didn’t think it would be Silverstone because there is hardly anything new, just some little things we put on the car.

“We expected more Budapest or Spa, but I agree with George. We felt that what we are doing at the moment is the right thing.”