Wolff warns rivals of 'driven' Hamilton: They woke up the lion

By Sports Desk November 21, 2021

Formula One "woke up the lion" in Lewis Hamilton when he was disqualified from qualifying due to a DRS issue in Brazil, Toto Wolff says.

Hamilton, who was already serving a penalty for taking a new engine at last week's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, was forced to start from the back of the grid in the sprint race but recovered to take fifth.

In the main race, the Mercedes man then triumphed from 10th despite an incident that saw title rival Max Verstappen force him wide and avoid punishment.

The FIA dismissed an appeal for that incident to be reviewed again this week, while a stewards' inquiry in Brazil saw Verstappen only fined after he touched Hamilton's car.

These factors may have frustrated Hamilton, but he has not become distracted, instead adding another victory at the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday to close to within eight points of Red Bull's Verstappen.

"Lewis is totally in the zone," Mercedes team principal Wolff told Sky Sports. "They woke up the lion in Interlagos on that Saturday and you see that."

Hamilton added: "The last two weeks have been fantastic, just amazing. But there's no time for celebration.

"I'll be back with the team already again next week and training tomorrow, stay on it, heads down.

"I don't have too much emotion other than being driven right now, but it's just amazing to be able to close so many points in the last two races which has been important.

"[Red Bull are] obviously still very fast, as you could see today with their fastest lap and both their cars getting past pretty much everyone quite easily. So we've still got our work cut out.

"I'm loving it. I love the close battle, the pressure, the demands it puts on you and the whole team.

"So I thoroughly enjoyed it, but these next two races need even better performance, so we'll be bringing our 'triple A' game for those ones."

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    A red flag was waved during the opening lap of Sunday's race at Silverstone, after Mercedes' George Russell was clipped by Pierre Gasly.

    Zhou was subsequently caught by Russell, with his Alfa Romeo flipped over and sent hurtling onto the run-off area, and remained upside down until it collided heavily with the barrier.

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    Zhou received immediate medical attention, but Alfa Romeo confirmed the Chinese driver - debuting this season in Formula One - was conscious.

    As Carlos Sainz went on to win his first race for Ferrari, Zhou gave an update on his official Twitter account, thanking fans for their well wishes and crediting the halo, a titanium ring secured above the cockpit, with saving him.

    The 23-year-old tweeted: "I'm ok, all clear. Halo saved me today. Thanks everyone for your kind messages!"

    It was the second time at Silverstone on Sunday that the halo came to the rescue of a driver, with Formula Two driver Roy Nissany benefiting from the safety device on his car when Dennis Hauger's vehicle landed on top of his Williams.

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    George Russell has explained Mercedes' protest after they were unable to restart the British Grand Prix following a red flag after a "unique scenario" on the opening lap.

    The British driver collided with Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu in a huge collision heading into the first corner, which left Zhou's car skidding off upside down into the barrier.

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    Zhou, Williams' Alex Albon and Russell were all unable to take to the grid however, though Mercedes tried to protest with the FIA by arguing that Russell had only exited his car in order to check on Zhou.

    "I jumped out of the car to see if he was okay, I saw it was red flagged. When I came back to the car, I couldn't get it started, so I ran down to the team to check, I told the marshals to leave it but when I got back the car was on the back of the flatbed," he explained to Sky Sports F1.

    "Apparently when you get assistance, you can't restart. The car just had the puncture and there was no doubt that we had the pace to come back to P6 today. 

    "We were trying but the FIA were pretty adamant, it's one of those unique scenarios I guess. I can't really think about it too much at the moment."

    Russell's collision with Zhou came after a bold decision from Mercedes to start on the hard-compound tyre, which he conceded was ultimately not the right call.

    "Ultimately, we took a risk starting on the hard because I made a mistake in qualifying, we started out of position and we thought the risk gave us the best opportunity later in the race but there was no grip on the hardest compound, it's cold out there, I got swamped by all the cars," he said.

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    Alfa Romeo have confirmed Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu is "conscious" and receiving medical checks following a horror crash in the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.

    The red flag incident occurred after Mercedes driver George Russell was tapped by Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly, then colliding with Zhou and resulting in the Alfa Romeo being flipped.

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