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Wolff warns retirements will make "big difference" in title battle

Wolff warns retirements will make "big difference" in title battle

F1 News

Wolff warns retirements will make "big difference" in title battle

Wolff warns retirements will make "big difference" in title battle
Sam Hall & Will Gray

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned a non-finish at this stage of the title battle could decide the winners of the two F1 championships this year.

Mercedes chose to take a grid penalty and change the engine on Hamilton’s car in Turkey to avoid the risk of a DNF but the British driver was only able to climb back to fifth place by the finish.

Valtteri Bottas took two engine penalties in a row in Italy and Russia and after Hamilton's ICE change, Wolff pointed to strange noises being the reason for the change.

Much was made of Hamilton's failure to claim more points, but Wolff was quick to point out that Verstappen lost a similar amount when he took a similar penalty at the preceding race in Sochi, despite going from last to second.

“In the end, we lost eight points today to Red Bull from a grid penalty and Red Bull last week were happy with a seven-point loss. It’s going to be very tight until the end [of the season]," said Wolff.

“DNFs are going to make the big difference and that was also a consideration today, not three or four or five-point swings.”

Hamilton stayed out on worn intermediate tyres at Istanbul Park until lap 50 of 58, when the team decided to finally pit him late in the race to avoid losing fifth to Pierre Gasly as his grip deteriorated.

Wolff rued not pulling his driver in earlier but added: “The whole season swings back and forth, we make mistakes together, we win together. We decided for one thing and it went wrong.

“We have had much bigger swings in the past with lost opportunities and this one was a very close call.”

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