Wolff warns rivals of 'driven' Hamilton: They woke up the lion

By Sports Desk November 21, 2021

Formula One "woke up the lion" in Lewis Hamilton when he was disqualified from qualifying due to a DRS issue in Brazil, Toto Wolff says.

Hamilton, who was already serving a penalty for taking a new engine at last week's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, was forced to start from the back of the grid in the sprint race but recovered to take fifth.

In the main race, the Mercedes man then triumphed from 10th despite an incident that saw title rival Max Verstappen force him wide and avoid punishment.

The FIA dismissed an appeal for that incident to be reviewed again this week, while a stewards' inquiry in Brazil saw Verstappen only fined after he touched Hamilton's car.

These factors may have frustrated Hamilton, but he has not become distracted, instead adding another victory at the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday to close to within eight points of Red Bull's Verstappen.

"Lewis is totally in the zone," Mercedes team principal Wolff told Sky Sports. "They woke up the lion in Interlagos on that Saturday and you see that."

Hamilton added: "The last two weeks have been fantastic, just amazing. But there's no time for celebration.

"I'll be back with the team already again next week and training tomorrow, stay on it, heads down.

"I don't have too much emotion other than being driven right now, but it's just amazing to be able to close so many points in the last two races which has been important.

"[Red Bull are] obviously still very fast, as you could see today with their fastest lap and both their cars getting past pretty much everyone quite easily. So we've still got our work cut out.

"I'm loving it. I love the close battle, the pressure, the demands it puts on you and the whole team.

"So I thoroughly enjoyed it, but these next two races need even better performance, so we'll be bringing our 'triple A' game for those ones."

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    Formula One has confirmed there will be just 22 grands prix in the 2022 season after cancelling the Russian Grand Prix earlier this year.

    F1 bosses tore up their contract with organisers of the Russian race in March.

    Promoters Rosgonki had a deal that was due to run until 2025, with St Petersburg due to replace Sochi as host of the race next year.

    However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine led F1 chiefs to declare the 2022 race in Sochi had been cancelled, and it has now been confirmed there will be no replacement, meaning just 22 races will take place instead of the previous 23.

    A statement on the F1 website on Wednesday read: "The 2022 Formula 1 calendar will now run to 22 races rather than the originally planned 23, following the decision not to replace the Russian Grand Prix.

    "It was announced on February 25 that, following meetings between Formula 1, the FIA and the teams, the championship would not race at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, which was set to be held on September 23-25.

    "But it's now been revealed that there will be no additional Grand Prix added to the calendar to fill the gap – meaning the 2022 calendar will run to 22 races."

    After five races of the 2022 season, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc leads the way in the drivers' standings on 104 points, with defending champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull in second on 85.

    The Spanish Grand Prix takes place on Sunday in Barcelona.

  • Red Bull closing on Ferrari as F1 returns to Europe ahead of Spanish GP Red Bull closing on Ferrari as F1 returns to Europe ahead of Spanish GP

    The drivers' and constructors' championships both heating up as Formula One makes its seasonal return to Europe seems fitting. 

    After legs in the Middle East, Australia and North America, Red Bull are comprehensively in the fight against Ferrari heading into this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

    With consecutive race wins at the Emilia Romagna GP and Miami GP following DNFs in Bahrain and Australia, Max Verstappen has closed the gap to standings leader Charles Leclerc to 19 points.

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    Barcelona is a happy hunting ground for Verstappen, who claimed victory there in 2016 in only his first drive for Red Bull.

    It could continue if the reigning world champion secures pole position, having converted 14 career poles into 10 race victories, the best rate of any driver in F1 history.

    Meanwhile, with Sergio Perez also contributing with solid driving and good race pace on Sunday, Red Bull have cut the gap in the constructors' standings to only six points.

    Only in Monaco have the team collected more points than in Spain, with 332 compared to 312, but that could change this weekend.

    With a fifth consecutive top-four finish, Perez could equal his best such run of results, recorded between Turkey and Qatar last season.

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    The gravity of Red Bull's resurgence could arguably be crystallised in the likelihood Ferrari will have upgrades installed for this weekend after only tinkering and researching on race weekends to this point.

    Leclerc will be looking to lead from the front, with all four of his race wins in F1 coming from pole position.

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    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

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    2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 85
    3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 66
    4. George Russell (Mercedes) 59 
    5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 53

    Constructors

    1. Ferrari 157
    2. Red Bull 151
    3. Mercedes 95
    4. McLaren 46
    5. Alfa Romeo 31

  • 'It is a rule for the right reasons' – GPDA chairman Wurz backs F1 jewellery ban but wanted 'different' FIA approach 'It is a rule for the right reasons' – GPDA chairman Wurz backs F1 jewellery ban but wanted 'different' FIA approach

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    Wurz also said he could not forget a talk he attended in his younger days by Danish former driver Kris Nissen, who had a serious crash involving a fire accident at the Fuji circuit in Japan in 1988.

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    Formula One next heads to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

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