Wolff is­sues ral­ly­ing cry for Hamil­ton ti­tle bid

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD: Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff has is­sued a ral­ly­ing cry for Lewis Hamil­ton’s ti­tle bid af­ter an­other dose of bad luck cost him points in Sun­day’s Aus­trian Grand Prix. The Aus­trian boss, who saw Valt­teri Bot­tas claim his sec­ond win of the year for Mercedes and move into con­tention for the driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship, said Hamil­ton had suf­fered from a run of mis­for­tune.

“In my opin­ion Lewis had all the bad luck that you can have,” he told re­porters. “We’ve let him down with the head-rest, we’ve let him down with the gear­box. Now it’s about time to fight back and hope­fully that’s go­ing to hap­pen in Sil­ver­stone.”

The luck­less Hamil­ton was de­prived of a near cer­tain vic­tory in last month’s Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix when he was forced to pit for re­pairs to a loose head­rest and had to start Sun­day’s race at the Red Bull Ring from eighth on the grid due to an un­sched­uled gear­box change.

Cham­pi­onship leader and four-time cham­pion Se­bas­tian Vet­tel of Fer­rari fin­ished sec­ond and ex­tended his lead ahead of the Bri­ton to 20 points, with Bot­tas 19 points adrift in third. “I feel that he didn’t have a great time most re­cently,” said Wolff. “He didn’t have a great time in the race be­cause he was suf­fer­ing from the car and the tyres, he didn’t have a great time with the gear­box trou­bles and the head­rest.

“So it’s about time that this changes. The mo­men­tum goes in the other di­rec­tion... Lewis is still right in the fight.

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“It’s not even half time in the cham­pi­onship and there are 275 points still to be won. Our tar­get will be to let him fight back in the best pos­si­ble way in Sil­ver­stone.”

A de­flated Hamil­ton was in down­cast mood af­ter Sun­day’s race, but is cer­tain to re­cover his poise and be back to his best for his home race this week when he will bid to put re­cent set­backs be­hind him. Vet­tel’s good for­tune - in es­cap­ing a heavy sanc­tion for his ‘road rage’ at­tack in Baku and prof­it­ing from Hamil­ton’s dif­fi­cul­ties - has en­abled him to en­large his ad­van­tage, but with­out win­ning a race.

“Twenty points be­hind is 20 points,” said Hamil­ton. “It’s not great. But it could have been 30... I don’t think there’s a call for me to do any­thing else than I’m al­ready do­ing. “It’s not like the team aren’t on my side or they’re not work­ing hard or I’m not push­ing them hard enough. I just have to keep driv­ing the way I have been and hope things get bet­ter.”

Vet­tel, who de­clared that Bot­tas was ‘un-hu­man’ if he had re­acted to the lights out to de­liver his per­fect start from pole po­si­tion, ap­pears to be en­joy­ing a streak of good for­tune.

This was high­lighted again on Sun­day when, as the ‘silly sea­son’ ru­mours about the F1 trans­fer mar­ket be­gan early, Fer­rari chair­man Ser­gio Mar­chionne re­vealed that the team were keen for him to stay - and had left it up to Vet­tel to sign a new con­tract when he is ready. The Ger­man will be out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son, but Mar­chionne re­vealed in Aus­tria that he wants him to stay.—AFP

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