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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team surprised by performance boost after Turkish GP efforts

LEWIS HAMILTON’s Mercedes team have been boosted by their win in Turkey as they head to this weekend’s US GP.

Hamilton had to settle for fifth in Istanbul after taking a grid penalty for a new engine but teammate Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag.

Mercedes’ world champ Lewis Hamilton is six points behind Red Bull’s Championship leader Max Verstappen
Mercedes are confident that Lewis Hamilton is well placed to win the US GP

And as they head to Austin, where Hamilton has won five times in eight years, boss Toto Wolff says their confidence is running high.

He said: “It was encouraging to see our positive performance momentum continue last time out in Turkey.

“We haven’t scored back-to-back race wins in a little while, so naturally spirits have been high in the factories since we returned from Istanbul.

“Istanbul was a dominant performance from Valtteri in tricky conditions, taking his first win of the season.

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A faultless drive from him and he was in control of the race from the very beginning.

“It’s a brilliant boost for him and the team heading into the final part of the season and helping us to extend our lead in the constructors’ standings.

“For Lewis, the absolute view of Turkey is that he lost one point more than Max Verstappen did in the previous race in Russia with a similar engine change, which we can live with.


“This season has had so many twists and turns, so we’re ready to react to whatever comes our way this weekend in Texas.”

Hamilton currently trails Red Bull’s Verstappen by six points with six races still to go this season as their epic fight goes down to the wire.

The Brit was critical of Merc’s decision to call him in for a late pitstop in Turkey, which he felt stopped him from achieving a third place finish.

However, Wolff says it was better to be cautious and introduce a new engine for Hamilton than risk a DNF – costing him a bucket load of points to his title rival.

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He added: “The whole season swings back and forth. We make mistakes together. We win together.

“We have had much bigger swings in the past with lost opportunities.


“This was a very, very close call. We decided for one thing, and it went wrong.

“At the end, we’ve lost eight points [in Turkey] from Red Bull from a grid penalty. Red Bull [in Russia] were happy with a seven-point loss.

“So it’s going to be very tight until the end. DNFs are going to make a big difference, and that was also a consideration, and not three or four or five-point swings.”

Meanwhile, the FIA have asked track bosses in Austin to grid down some of the raised bumps on their track surface.

F1 drivers are in for a bumpy ride this week as the safety of the surface was called into question by the MotoGP riders in a recent race.

FIA Race Director Michael Masi has asked for work to be completed but the problem is unlikely to be completely resolved in time.

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