Lewis Hamilton was under more pressure in the 2016 title battle against Nico Rosberg than against Max Verstappen, according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. The Mercedes Executive Director shrugged off any title battle pressure on the Mercedes title protagonist.
Speaking at the FIA team principal’s conference, Toto Wolff commented on the 2016 title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. He said:
“I would say that the intensity of the situation was maybe more in 2016 because if you have a rivalry and a fight within the team, trying to manage the two sides of the garage and obviously not being one-sided but keeping everything transparent was very, very difficult. Also, for me, I was still very much in my junior year, so I don’t want to go back to the difficulties of that relationship or that situation there.”
The 2016 championship battle was one of the hardest fought battles in Lewis Hamilton’s career at Mercedes. He fought his own team-mate Nico Rosberg down to the wire.
The 2021 season is an inter-team battle between Verstappen and him. But it still has its intense on-track battle scenarios, that weren’t there in the 2016 season.
Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ season this year has been phenomenal
While the Mercedes boss thinks it is not the most pressurized title battle for Lewis Hamilton, he does believe it has been a tough one for his team. Wolff said there were some races in the year when they had a 45 second advantage. This, he felt, was one of the highlights of his team’s progress. However, it still doesn't compare to their dominance pre-2021.
Explaining their progress this year against their rivals, the Mercedes boss said:
“This one is just a fierce fight between teams and drivers that have done a really great job, but sometimes in the races the two or three drivers in the lead we were 45 seconds up the road, like being almost the whole field and this shouldn’t sound arrogant in any way but it shows the push all of us have done in order to win this. It’s probably a level that certainly in my years at Mercedes is unprecedented.”
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While Mercedes look comfortable in the Constructors' title with a 28 point lead, the same can’t be said for Lewis Hamilton. The Briton is tied with his Dutch contender Verstappen going into the final round with an unpredictable race ahead.