“Love to see Toto’s fighting spirit” – Hamilton capitalizes on Mercedes boss’s passion as fight against Red Bull intensifies

Video of Toto Wolff triumphantly gesturing towards the camera after Lewis Hamilton overtook Max Verstappen in the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend has gone viral following the Interlagos race – Hamilton admitting he loves seeing his team manager’s passion Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows’ battle with Red Bull for the 2021 titles intensifies.

With the rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull – and their respective team managers Toto Wolff and Christian Horner – having boiled over for much of the season, Wolff was led to declare that “diplomacy is over” as a result of the strong Verstappen’s initial defense against Hamilton. on the 48th lap of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which saw both drivers forced to qualify and for which the Dutch driver escaped sanction on race day.

READ MORE: We received ‘a lot of punches to the face this weekend,’ Wolff says as he calls Verstappen’s 48th round defense ‘over the line’

Hamilton was nonetheless able to pass Verstappen 11 laps later before securing his 101st victory, a pass that led to Wolff’s defiant gesture on camera – and which Hamilton says demonstrated his team boss’s level of passion. .

“I love seeing Toto’s fighting spirit, it makes me so happy,” said Hamilton, speaking on the Losail International Circuit ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix. “There is a photo I saw of him from the last race and it made me laugh inside, it was so good.

“If Toto cared less and was just cool, I don’t know… that fire and passion are part of our infrastructure and our ecosystem and that stems from him,” Hamilton added. “He’s the leader of the team and you want that in your boss, someone who’s out there pushing and chasing every millisecond and with you all the way.

“So I like him to stand up for what he thinks is right. We have grown enormously [close] over the years, as we will continue to do.

READ MORE: Mercedes asks for ‘right of review’ for Hamilton-Verstappen clash on lap 48 in Brazil

Following the Brazilian Grand Prix, Mercedes asked for a “right of review” over the decision not to penalize Verstappen for the Interlagos incident – Hamilton told Losail that although he “fully” supported the team deciding to continue this route, he had “not given energy” to the process, the representatives of the Mercedes and Red Bull teams having met the stewards in Qatar on Thursday at 5:00 pm.

Jolyon Palmer analysis: Did Verstappen deserve a penalty for a clash with Hamilton at Interlagos?

But when asked if he was concerned his acrimonious track battles and Verstappen’s could hurt one of the tightest title fights in recent years, Hamilton replied: “I don’t think so. not. This is sport, isn’t it?

“It’s intense, the battle on and off the track… I think there is no reason that, as men, it cannot be discussed and understood. I think in the end respect is really important, that we stay respectful of each other, on and off the track.

READ MORE: ‘Thought it was a fair and tough race’ – Verstappen didn’t expect Hamilton defense penalty in Brazil

“Of course I have rethought it and naturally I have a different point of view now,” Hamilton added of the Verstappen incident in Brazil. “[But] I’m just putting all my energy into tuning the car, making sure I’m in the right free space this weekend… I just concentrated, sitting with Bono. [race engineer Pete Bonnington] and engineers. We really have to start this weekend [strongly] and make sure we bring them the fight.