‘You bet we can’: Toto Wolff talks up Mercedes’ F1 title chances after Spanish Grand Prix

George Russell’s podium and Lewis Hamilton’s fight back in Barcelona have Wolff optimistic about Mercedes’ chances

Harry Latham-Coyle
Monday 23 May 2022 10:36
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<p>Toto Wolff enjoyed a strong performance from Mercedes in Barcelona </p>

Toto Wolff enjoyed a strong performance from Mercedes in Barcelona

Toto Wolff believes that Mercedes can still fight their way into the Formula 1 world title fight after an encouraging weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The German team produced their most complete performance of the season in Barcelona, looking closer to matching early front-runners Red Bull and Ferrari.

Continuing a run of top-five finishes to start the season for his new team, George Russell finished third, two places ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had dropped down the field after an early clash with Kevin Magnussen, but was able to move up through the field with Mercedes appearing to have solved some of the performance issues that have plagued the team in the opening races of the 2022 campaign.

Wolff remarked afterwards that it was a performance that reminded him of Mercedes’ best during their eight-year run of Constuctors’ Championship dominance, and the Austrian is optimistic that Hamilton and Russell may yet contend this season.

“Can we fight for a world championship? You bet we can,” the Mercedes team principal said after the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We have reasons to believe we can get there. If you look at the standings that is very hard to see, but motor racing is a different ball game.

“We’ve seen today that Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points when they should have and we will absolutely push flat out to bring us back into the game.”

Max Verstappen took the Drivers’ Championship lead in Barcelona with a third consecutive race victory as Charles Leclerc was forced to retire after suffering engine failure while appearing to be cruising to the win.

Sergio Perez followed his teammate home and is third in the standings, but only eleven points ahead of Russell.

Monaco hosts the next grand prix of the season this coming weekend, and Hamilton, a three-time winner on the streets of Monte Carlo, is hopeful that Mercedes will continue to improve.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements with the car,” Hamilton explained. “The race pace is much, much better… the car is much nicer in the race.

“This is a great sign we’re going in the right direction. Without [my crash with Magnussen], I would have been fighting the Red Bulls.

“That gives me great hope that at some stage we’ll be fighting for the win.”

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