“They woke up the lion on Saturday in Brazil. Lewis is totally focused on the title. In a brutal and cold-blooded way. This is the best of him. We have seen him in the past and he is there,” warned the Mercedes boss , Toto wolff in statements to ESPN. Without a doubt, a declaration of intentions. Two races remain for the end of the most intense and even World Championship of the hybrid era of Formula 1. After the Grand Prix of Qatar, only 8 points separate the seven-time champion Lewis hamilton of the current leader Max Verstappen. And in the team classification, 5 points of difference in favor of Brackley’s against Red Bull. After 20 grands prix, no one has yet had their last word, but Mercedes is reluctant to lose its supremacy after seven years of uninterrupted success.
“I think that when adversity appears, Hamilton can move with superhero powers and that happened at Interlagos,” insists Wolff. The truth is that, fantasies aside, the Briton has starred in a true champion’s reaction when the defense of the title had become more difficult, after the exhibition of power of Verstappen in Austin and Mexico and after the sanctions with which it started Lewis in Brazil.
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The new Jeddah layout will be the next scene of the pulse. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (2-5 December) joins the Formula 1 calendar at the most opportune moment and of maximum tension in the World Championship. And there Mercedes will take their ‘heavy artillery’ to try to maintain the impressive speed they have exhibited in the last two races. The new engine that propelled Hamilton to victory in Brazil was not used in Qatar, but Brackley’s men will be turning to it again to make the most of the speed of the Jeddah track.
“Saudi Arabia should be a good track for us, although we know that this year, when we think it is a good track, it can turn the other way. But in Jeddah they are long straights and we are going to take out our weapon there, the Brazilian engine. I just hope that Valtteri Bottas can be in front because we will need him, but anyway, if they Hamilton and Verstappen finish the race, I think the title will be played in the last race, in Abu Dhabi, “predicts Wolff, aware that Verstappen he is going to have his first ‘match ball’ in Arabia.
The Dutchman knows that Red Bull has to ‘put the batteries’ to face the Mercedes offensive but tries to isolate itself from the ‘noise’ in a high voltage season finale: “We just have to try to stay focused, there are still two left races and as you can see a lot can still happen. Personally, I feel good, I know it will be a close battle until the end, it will be difficult until the end, but I think it is good because it is exciting. “