“We have to take it that way now”– Toto Wolff claims Max Verstappen fetching a P2 spoilt the advantage they were about to get.
With the grid penalty imposed on Max Verstappen after his fourth engine change this season, it was inevitable that Lewis Hamilton would overtake the Dutchman in the drivers’ championship standings.
However, Verstappen going all in for the P2 podium saved him from a massive lead and only kept him two points away from the seven-time world champion.
Hence, Toto Wolff has declared it a win for Verstappen, as the two-point advantage was not something Mercedes wanted to go back home with after a golden opportunity to get the maximum points.
“The fact that Verstappen finished second makes it a bit bittersweet,” Wolff said, as quoted by F1-Insider. “Before the rain, Max was seventh and we were second, that’s about the same point difference as with one and two. We have to take it that way now.”
“But he’s the second winner today,” Wolff added. Verstappen was struggling behind Fernando Alonso for a considerable period of time, but the incoming rain gave him an opportunity to make a perfect strategy call which elevated him to his podium place.
The championship will go down to the wire
With only one-third of the season left, and only two points separating them, Wolff thinks that the championship battle will go down till the end of the road.
“I think neither driver or neither team can have any comfort in the current situation because there is just no gap in terms of points,” said the Austrian. “I think this is going to go very long.”
On the other hand, Red Bull’s boss Christian Horner also concurred with his contemporary- Wolff and claimed the P2 result as no less than a victory for his team.
“It was like a victory for us,” he told Sky F1. “If someone had offered me this result before the race, I would have bitten off their arm. Everyone in the team is enjoying it,” he added.
“And it’s all going to be about the next seven races – not making mistakes and getting the strategy right, having the pace and penalties will play a role.