F1

Mercedes won’t ‘prioritize’ Hamilton’s victory in F1 final RaceFans

Mercedes will not prioritize efforts to avoid a winless first season for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after his teammate took a big win for them on Sunday.

Hamilton has never gone through an F1 season without scoring a win since he entered the sport in 2007. Mercedes had not won this year until George Russell triumphed at Interlagos last weekend.

But Mercedes will not make a special effort at Yas Marina to ensure Hamilton avoids ending the season winless, team principal Toto Wolff has said.

“I think Lewis doesn’t need any prioritization and it’s not what he would want,” Wolff said. “This record of winning one race every season is less of a priority for him, it’s more that we’re getting the car back to where it can be and we’re in the running for more race wins next year and hopefully a championship. . ”

As they neared the end of their 11-month winning drought on Sunday, Mercedes resisted any temptation to call off the fight between their drivers in the closing stages of the race, while Hamilton chased Russell. “As a team, we always stood for free runs,” Wolff said.

“We have never done the opposite unless one driver is mathematically no longer in contention for a championship and the other is. So we were actually looking forward to them competing on par on the same tire and we discussed that this morning in the strategy meeting.”

Towards the end of the race on Sunday, Russell asked if he and Hamilton were still fighting each other. He said he was not at all surprised to learn that Hamilton was still allowed to pressure him for victory.

“We’ve always said we’re free to run,” Russell said. “Toto and the team have put a lot of faith and trust in Lewis and me and obviously we’ve had some head-to-head moments throughout this year and it’s always been respectful and I think we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.

“I just wanted to understand the position. He knew how important that one-two was to the team. So if we weren’t racing, it was kind of like ‘take the car home’. If we were racing, it was a qualifying lap every lap and you’re risking every corner, because the laps had to be perfect. So obviously I’m happy to have won it that way.”

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