“It does feel that way” — Wolff says Mercedes back in the game after “fairytale” win with Lewis Hamilton at F1 British GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Mercedes is on a roll. For the first time since 2021, they have won consecutive races.

Following on from George Russell’s victory in Austria when Max Verstappen and Lando Norris tangled with 8 laps to go, Lewis Hamilton took his first win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at his home race at Silverstone on Sunday.

Toto Wolff says British GP glory was on merit, without wanting Mercedes to get too far ahead of themselves.

“We must not get carried away. We had a win last week, benefiting from them tangling, but today we have an honest win. We had the real pace, you could see George and Lewis in the lead. And then almost under all conditions, we were there.”

104-time race winner Lewis Hamilton was in tears after his fantastic victory on Sunday, a record breaking ninth one at a single venue.

Asked if there was a build up of emotion over the last 31 months after Abu Dhabi 2021, as well as not winning for so long, Wolff says the main issue was not providing Hamilton and Russell with race winning machinery.

“No, I think that it was so difficult over the last two years that we couldn’t really find performance, we couldn’t give the drivers a car that enabled them to go for the victories.“And to make him win again, the British Grand Prix, in his last race for Mercedes here, is almost like a little fairytale. We couldn’t have scripted it better.”

In the early stages of the race, George Russell was in control of it, with Hamilton sitting about 1.5s behind as they slowly eased away from Verstappen and the McLarens.

Then as the first bit of rain closed in, the seven-time World Champion went to work. He overtook Russell for the lead on lap 18 as he had more confidence in the slippery conditions.

However, Norris and Piastri were even faster in the McLarens, storming through to make it a 1-2. Piastri was taken out of it by a strategy blunder from McLaren when everyone switched to inters, allowing Hamilton to reclaim P2. From there, he marked Norris, keeping him within range.

Mercedes called the switch back to dry tyres perfectly, putting Hamilton out front. From there, he controlled things masterfully.Wolff explained their day and pace from his point of view.

“Yeah, it was difficult. We were really controlling the pace at the beginning, and that was very encouraging.

“And then it started to rain, and you could see the massive performance that the McLaren had, and they were simply in the sweet spot of the tyre.

“But we came back, and then under good conditions, I think we had it under control.

“It’s just a shame that we didn’t have it with George. He had the pace, and letting him down here with a water leak, it’s just not great.

“But I think the overarching result here, with Lewis’ last British Grand Prix [at Mercedes], George is going to win one.”

Whilst naturally disappointed with retiring from his home race when he was a contender to be on the podium, George Russell was feeling positive as well as he feels Mercedes is truly back in the game at the front in F1 now. It’s an assessment Wolff agreed with.

Mercedes has made tremendous progress since Imola, becoming regular podium contenders thanks to excellent upgrades, and fighting for wins on pure pace in Canada and Silverstone, too.

“Yeah, it does feel that way, because last weekend we weren’t far off, when you look at the gap we had before the crash, it was maybe two tenths a lap or a bit more.

“And that is the closest we’ve been for a long time, on a track that we didn’t like so much, in the past. And that kind of gave us hints, that it could be getting much better.

“Honestly we didn’t think it would be Silverstone, because there’s barely anything, just small stuff that we put on the car, we were more expecting Budapest or Spa.

“But it was, I agree with George, we justified that what we do is right at the moment.”

Wolff also talked through the decision to go with softs over hards for the final 15-lap stint when they came off the inters. They had no mediums left to use, unlike McLaren.

Nonetheless, McLaren got tricked into going for softs because of Mercedes’ decision. It did not work as Hamilton was able to look after his tyres much better than Lando Norris, holding off Verstappen in the closing laps in the process as well.

“Yeah, we didn’t have the medium, that was very simple for us and we didn’t believe the hard was the right tyre to go.

“In hindsight, probably the right order of priority would be medium, hard and soft. That’s what would have been the quickest,

“But today we saved it at the end, I think our tyre deg was good compared to the McLaren’s and that secured the victory.

“I think the communication with the driver today was very good and we kept the channel open at all times.

“Among ourselves we kept discussing the pros and cons, we were monitoring the gaps and at a certain stage the strategist said, we believe the crossover is now and they were spot on.

“I think that was the perfect time to pit.”