At the very beginning of the Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was involved in a collision with Kevin Magnussen, which caused a tyre puncture and dropped him down to P19.
At that point he asked Mercedes if it would be better to retire the car and save the engine, but the team informed him that they believe he could get up to P8.
However, with an amazing recovery drive, Lewis ultimately finished the race in P5 (and would have finished in P4, were it not for technical issues with his car).
After the race team boss Toto Wolff explained why Lewis was so pessimistic in the beginning.
“The relationship, the dynamic between the driver and the team is something that is so important,” the Austrian said.
“It’s clear, in having an accident in the early stage of the race, you are saying to yourself ‘Not again!’ and you are not featuring.
“He was 38 seconds or so behind the last cars after his stop and that’s basically game over but him then showing his very good pace was important for not only his morale but also our morale.
“Who would have thought he would climb all the way to fourth before the problem came up. It looked like a world championship-winning race car he was driving.
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“That was not possible in the previous races. It reminded me of last year and the years before when the car and driver are on top of their game.”
Asked by journalists if this means Mercedes believes they can win the 2022 title, Wolff explained:
“What I meant to say is that I’ve seen a race car today that reminded me of the race cars of previous seasons where you are 30-plus seconds behind the whole field, and you come all the way to the front near the podium.
“That is very encouraging and shows we have made another step. Can we fight for a world championship? We bet we can.
“But we just need to have a car that is capable of finishing first and second. We have reasons to believe we can get there but if you look at the odds they are against that.
“But motor racing is a different ball game. We saw today Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points, although they should.
“We are absolutely pushing flat out in order to bring us back into the game,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.