Toto Wolff delivers bad news for Lewis Hamilton fans ahead of Abu Dhabi GP

Mercedes have claimed a podium at the last three races, including victory via George Russell at the Brazilian GP last time out.

The Silver Arrows head into the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in jubilant fashion, with the Germans having finally claimed their first win of the season.

George Russell’s emphatic performance followed up by Lewis Hamilton’s brilliant recovery drive resulted in Mercedes achieving their first one-two finish since the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The result moved the Brackley-based team to within 19 points of Ferrari, in the fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship.

It was a shock to all to see how strong Mercedes were at the Brazilian Grand Prix; however, Interlagos victor Russell isn’t expecting the same dominance at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend.

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Russell predicts that Red Bull will have the edge at the finale, with his “gut” saying that the Germans will be “similar” to Ferrari.

“Going into Abu Dhabi I think we’ll probably be similar to, my gut is saying, Ferrari. I think maybe a small step behind Red Bull,” explained Russell.

“I think the last two races have been quite slow-speed circuits and that’s where we’ve sort of excelled this season. But the progress we’ve made as a team has just been unbelievable.

“Since Austin we’ve, as a team, fought for victory, or had the possibility for victory, every single race. So the boost it’s given all of us and the confidence it’s given everybody back at the factory, the factory is going to be pumping over the winter.

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“We’re going to be giving everything we’ve got to come out in that very first test with a car that can compete from race one.”

Whilst the team ensured that they maintained their record of having claimed a win every year since 2012, Hamilton’s personal record is at a grave risk of ending.

Hamilton has claimed a win in every F1 season he’s competed in; however, should he not win the season finale then this streak would sadly end.

If he does win this weekend, then it would be somewhat fitting given that he was “manipulated” out of the victory and 2021 championship last season.

Ahead of the weekend, Hamilton reflected on the team ending their winless streak, adding that it is “really huge” that they’ve done so.

“For a long, long period of time, we couldn’t really, truly understand what the problem was or how to fix it,” said Hamilton.

“And it was difficult, because we kept trying and trying and trying and every time something new came, we still had the problems we had.

“So this is really, really huge. We know where our North Star is, we know where we need to put all our efforts into this winter. I’m so proud of the team for all the incredible hard work.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who wasn’t present in Brazil, is, like Russell, expecting this weekend to be “much more difficult” for the side.

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Whilst Wolff is predicting a tough weekend awaits them, he noted that at least the side “know why” they are going to struggle.

“I think Abu Dhabi on paper is much more difficult for us also because we are still too draggy, but we know why,” said Wolff.

“I think we know why we were better [in Brazil]. Do we know why we were so far ahead of everyone this weekend? We don’t.”