Lewis Hamilton set for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix boost, with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff admitting the ‘spicy’ engine that fired him to stunning Brazil win will return in bid to close gap to Max Verstappen heading into potential F1 title decider
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is ready to unleash the incredible engine that helped Lewis Hamilton power to a supreme victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix eight days ago.
Hamilton was given a new engine for the race in Brazil, which with a focus on performance rather than reliability enabled him to come from last place in the Saturday sprint qualifying race to first in the grand prix after passing chief title rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton triumphed from pole position at Qatar on Sunday, again in front of Verstappen, using an older spec engine to trim the championship gap to the Red Bull driver down to just eight points with two races to spare.
Lewis Hamilton triumphed at Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix to make it back-to-back wins
The Brit dominated from start to finish at the Losail Circuit in front of Max Verstappen
Wolff though is now ready to bring back the speedy engine which powered Hamilton to Interlagos success, at the new track in Saudi Arabia that with its high speed nature is already believed to favour his Mercedes team.
‘Saudi should be a good track for us, but we know this year when you think it’s a good one it can turn the other way around,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘But it’s a long straight, we’ll get our spicy equipment (engine) out for Saudi Arabia that we didn’t use (in Qatar) and hopefully Valtteri (Bottas) is right up there – we need him.
‘But in any case, if everyone finishes the race it will go to Abu Dhabi.’
In Saudi Arabia, Hamilton will have his ‘spicy’ engine that helped fire him to win in Brazil
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen still leads the world championship by eight points
If Hamilton for the third race in a row wins in Jeddah in front of Verstappen, and takes the fastest lap, it will ensure that both drivers will head into the last round of the world championship at Yas Marina level on points.
However, Verstappen would still crucially lead the world championship on a count-back of greater number of wins.
The Dutchman even won the season ending race last season, but it has usually been a track favoured by Mercedes.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff speaks with Valtteri Bottas (left) and Hamilton after the Qatar GP
When asked if Hamilton’s new engine was the best yet, Wolff was bullish about its performance.
‘Yes, definitely. I think the car is quick on the straight and good around the corners,’ he added.
‘Degradation works fine – even at races in the Middle East and we have two to come of these – on old tyres.
‘I think we have to push maximum attack. We have to catch up, make some points up and that’s just what we are going to do.’