Wolff: DNFs will make the difference in F1 championship fight

Toto Wolff believes retirements will “make a big difference” in this year’s Formula 1 championship fight, and not the smaller points swings between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Wolff: DNFs will make the difference in F1 championship fight

Hamilton lost the lead of the drivers’ standings after crossing the line fifth last time out in Turkey, with Verstappen’s second-place finish enough to give him a six-point advantage at the top of the table.

Hamilton fought back from 11th place on the grid following an engine penalty, but had been in contention for a podium before Mercedes opted to keep him out while cars around him pitted for intermediates, only to then bring him in with eight laps remaining.

The decision to was questioned by Hamilton at the time and later analysed by Mercedes, whose data showed the seven-time world champion would have dropped to the back of the points had he not come in when he did.

Mercedes said after the race that it wanted to cut its losses by bringing Hamilton in, and team principal Wolff emphasised the consequences not finishing a race would have on the title fight.

“The whole season swings back and forth,” Wolff said.

“We make mistakes together. We win together. We have 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.”

Hamilton has only one DNF to his name so far this season, failing to finish the Italian Grand Prix after the collision with Verstappen that resulted in the Red Bull driver being sanctioned.

Verstappen also retired in that clash, with his other DNF coming at the British Grand Prix following contact with Hamilton on the opening lap of the race. Hamilton was handed an in-race penalty, but he recovered to win the grand prix for Mercedes.

Verstappen failed to see the chequered flag in Baku after suffering a puncture while leading, but was classified after completing more than 90% of the race distance. 

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas: Certainty over F1 future helping me focus on driving
Previous article

Bottas: Certainty over F1 future helping me focus on driving

Next article

Austin bumps set to "complicate" USA F1 weekend

Austin bumps set to "complicate" USA F1 weekend
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021