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Wolff: Our chances of victory in Austin evaporated when Verstappen passed Leclerc

Toto Wolff; photo: Spas Genev

Toto Wolff comments on last night’s events US Grand Prix. The Mercedes boss was well aware that Hamilton’s chances of victory had evaporated as Max Verstappen closed in behind him. The Red Bull driver was delayed in the pits, but nevertheless recorded his 13th success since the start of the current campaign.

Hamilton led the race after Red Bull’s pit stop. The Austrian team’s mechanics were late changing Verstappen’s tires due to problems with one of the guns. The Dutchman was not at all happy with the situation and stated that he was was very upset after the delay in boxing.

Despite losing a few positions, Verstappen used the incredible pace of his Red Bull RB18 to overtake Leclerc. He then managed to catch up to Hamilton and overtook him on the long back straight. The Mercedes competitor tried to counterattack, but there was not enough power and resource in the tires. to threaten the Dutchman’s top spot.

Wolff is sure that the team from Brackley had a real opportunity to record a first win of the year.

“When he [Верстапен] he was six seconds behind Hamilton and it seemed to me that he couldn’t get enough speed. I feel like we could have won the race,” Wolff said.

With less than 20 laps to go in the 2022 US Grand Prix, Verstappen passed Leclerc. The two-time world champion then began to close the gap on Hamilton. Wolff explained that from that moment on, he expected Hamilton to be overtaken and overtaken by Verstappen.

“Lewis used hard tires because we just didn’t have any medium sets anymore. At this stage we still felt capable of holding on for the potential win. Our chances of victory in Austin evaporated when Verstappen passed Leclerc. After that, we knew we couldn’t keep the first place.”

Hamilton himself also commented on the development of the race. The Mercedes driver said he was unable to keep Verstappen behind him when he was in a gap where he could use the DRS system.

“OF ate so fast on the straights. When using DRS, they are about 35 km/h faster than us. If we are behind them we have an advantage of about 22 km/h, I think that’s right. You can see from what distance he makes overtakes on the long straight,” shared Hamilton

“But even without DRS I think they’re still about 8km/h ahead of us. On the straights we lose a lot of time, probably at least four tenths of a lap. To be honest, we need to make some improvements to the car for next year.”

Hamilton did, however, admit that for a moment he thought his first win of the 2022 season was possible.

“For a moment I thought we might be able to hold on to the top.” But on the other hand, the tires that Max had were much better than the ones that were on my car,” added the Mercedes driver.

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