Toto Wolff fears that Lewis Hamilton cannot immediately attack Max Verstappen at the start of the race. According to the Mercedes team boss, the Dutchman has the better material at his disposal, although Wolff says he has enough options in the race to launch the attack.
After a surprising qualifying, Max Verstappen was able to convincingly conquer pole position, title rival Lewis Hamilton starts next to the Dutchman from second place. At the start of the race, team boss Toto Wolff does not expect the Mercedes car to have enough speed to immediately take the lead in the race.
“If you look purely at the performance of the car, the Red Bulls look very strong,” said the Mercedes team boss before the United States Grand Prix. “On paper it is the cars that are ahead in terms of performance, but on Sunday it could of course take a different turn.”
According to Wolff, there are plenty of opportunities for Hamilton in Austin. Overtaking on the track is fine at the Circuit of the Americas and with a two-stop Mercedes can also take the lead in the race on strategy. “Anything can still happen tomorrow,” said the team boss of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“You can’t know everything in advance, luckily the qualifying result is not the result of the race. We can still compete for the win and hopefully Valtteri can get back to the front of the field soon too.” Hamilton’s teammate has to start from ninth place after a grid penalty for an engine change.
After Verstappen and Hamilton, Sergio Perez qualified third. Verstappen’s Mexican teammate can mean a lot in the strategic game against Mercedes after his second-best qualifying result of 2021. Bottas will not be able to put pressure on the Austrian team in the opening phase of the race due to his grid penalty.