‘F*** them all!’: Lewis Hamilton praised by Toto Wolff for ‘damage limitation’ at Brazilian Grand Prix

The Briton rallied after being excluded from qualifying and demoted to the back after his Mercedes failed to meet technical regulations

Jack Rathborn
Sunday 14 November 2021 15:35
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Lewis Hamilton Facing Engine Penalty At Brazil GP

Lewis Hamilton was told ‘f*** them all’ over his radio by Toto Wolff after a sublime drive launched him from last to fifth in Saturday’s sprint race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes team principal praised the seven-time world champion’s effort with his resilience limiting the advantage handed to title rival Max Verstappen - who will be begin Sunday's race second on the grid.

Hamilton's drive follows a dramatic build-up to the race with the Briton excluded from qualifying and demoted to the back after his car failed to meet technical regulations, with his pole lap at Interlagos wiped out.

“Lewis, brilliant job, damage limitation. F*** them all.”

Hamilton replied: “Copy. It’s not over yet.”

Valtteri Bottas beat the Red Bull star to seize victory in the 24-lap dash to land pole position.

But with Verstappen finishing second, he chalked up another two points in the drivers’ championship, stretching his lead over Hamilton from 19 to 21 points.

The Dutch star will be eight places ahead of Hamilton, who has suffered a demotion to 10th after a five-place grid penalty incurred for a fifth engine change of the campaign when only three are permitted.

Reaction to the result, Hamilton said: “I had no idea what was possible. I didn’t set a limit or a maximum.

“When I was at the back of the grid I could see 10th, and I was like that is my goal and to try and get up as far up as possible. I kept chipping away. You just cannot give up, you just have to keep pushing.”

Asked about his disqualification – announced two hours and 26 minutes before the lights went out – Hamilton said: “It was definitely tough and whilst the team were working away with the stewards I was focusing on my work with the engineers and keeping the morale of my mechanics high and focusing on the job at hand and not thinking about it.

“I heard the stewards’ result and it was devastating, but you have to keep your head down. I reset and got my mind focused on doing what I could do and giving it my everything.”

While Wolff added: Wolff added: “Sometimes after these greatest frustrations with Formula One you see this awesome race with Valtteri winning and in control.

“As for Lewis, 15 overtakes to finish fifth, it is great to forget the politics for the moment and enjoy great racing.

“The mindset we have is that when we suffer hardship you need to build up resilience and that is what I meant when I said f*** them all.

“Yesterday the car was tested and today two hours before the race we got the information that we were disqualified and that is how can I say it? Sad.

“There are procedures in Formula One and protocols you have to follow and we had a car that failed successive tests by the tiniest of margins and in the past that would have meant fix it. The wing was simply damaged in qualifying.

“But we failed the test and their argument has to be respected and this is why we also decided not to appeal the decision. If the stewards decide you have to take it on the chin and it goes both ways.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s 71-lap race, Wolff concluded: “Lewis is starting from 10th, not 20th, and Valtteri is up there on pole so it is more encouraging than it appeared 90 minutes ago.”

And Verstappen, after securing an advantageous position over his title rival, concluded: “The start was not the best. Nevertheless, our pace was quite good but when you get close here you cannot really pass.

“Today it was not possible but we will try again tomorrow.”

PA contributed to this report

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