Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff has no concerns that Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the Canadian Grand Prix will damage his confidence as the season progresses.
Hamilton had been running behind his team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg during Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, before a MGU-K failure caused his brakes to overheat and fail, forcing him into his second retirement of the season, after an engine problem took him out of the season opener in Australia.
While his team-mate suffered the same problem on the very same lap of Sunday’s race, Rosberg was able to nurse the sick Mercedes home to second place, collecting 18 potentially crucial points and extending his lead over Hamilton at the head of the drivers’ championship to 22 points.
Yet, despite the ill-timed failure, Wolff is confident that the 2008 champion will not dwell on the moment, and will bounce back ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
“We are sorry to have let Lewis down and it’s a shame when the championship is as close as it is,” said Wolff. “But he is in good spirits, he is a fighter and I have no doubt that he will come back.
Wolff believes that Hamilton’s terminal brake failure stemmed from his time in the pits at his second stop, which sent his brake temperatures soaring to a critical level, forcing him to retire, an issue that Rosberg was fortunate to avoid.
“When Lewis entered into the pits, with a stationary car, the temperatures rose and when he went out the pedal just went soft and fell down completely,” he added. “On Nico’s car he was lucky not to have that.”
While Rosberg’s advantage in the drivers’ title has grown to a 22 point lead on the back of Hamilton’s failure, the Mercedes boss remains keen to point out that the title fight is far from over between his two drivers, with the prospect of double points in Abu Dhabi meaning a whole lot could still change.
“We are seven races in and we are having another 12 – 13 [races] if you include double points.
“We have to be careful saying it will be an easy home run for us because Red Bull has scored massive points today and you can lose that gap pretty quickly, but between the two of them [Rosberg and Hamilton] it will come down to the end of the season with double points [in Abu Dhabi].”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic