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Lewis Hamilton warned by Mercedes chief that DNFs are a ‘no go’ in F1 title battle

The defending champion holds a narrow lead over Max Verstappen with six races left this season

Alex Pattle
Monday 04 October 2021 12:08
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<p>Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff (left) and Lewis Hamilton</p>

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff (left) and Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has been warned by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff that DNFs are a “no go” if the Briton is to retain his Formula One title.

Hamilton’s championship victory last season saw him go level with Michael Schumacher on a record seven F1 titles, and the Mercedes driver holds a two-point lead over rival Max Verstappen with six races left this season.

Hamilton, 36, beat the Red Bull driver to first place at the Russian Grand Prix last time out, but at the calendar’s previous event – the Italian GP – the pair took each other out of the race.

That incident marked their second coming-together this year, following the rivals’ crash at the British Grand Prix in July. On that occasion, Hamilton went on to win the race while Verstappen recorded a DNF (‘did not finish’).

Wolff, however, is concerned that Hamilton might not be so lucky if another incident occurs, and the Austrian has warned his driver that he must finish every race left this season if he is to win a record eighth F1 title.

“I think neither driver and neither team can have any comfort in the current situation, because there is just no gap in terms of points and I think that this is going to go very long,” Wolff told Formula1.com.

“Reliability versus performance is always the fine line that you need to get right, and as I said before, DNFing obviously is a no-go for the championship.

“Nobody, neither us nor our competitors, can afford a zero-point race weekend.”

The next race on the F1 calendar is the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday. Last year’s edition of the event saw Hamilton emerge victorious to claim the 2020 drivers’ championship.

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