After Hamilton won the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff wanted to let everybody know how satisfied he was with the team and the risky decision they took, which paid off.
At lap 42 of the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton surprisingly entered the pits as he was chasing Verstappen for the lead of the race. The seven-time world champion had his first pit stop a few laps after his Dutch rival and it was, therefore, a big surprise for everybody to see him pit for the second time.
Hamilton came out of the pits on fresher tires compared to Verstappen and started making up for his 23-second deficit.
A similar scenario was already seen at the season opener in Bahrain when Verstappen pitted late for fresher tires and rapidly caught up with Hamilton but could not get rid of his British rival because of overheated compounds.
Nonetheless, Hamilton nailed his race-end and claimed his 98th GP win after overtaking Verstappen at lap 60. Toto Wolff was extremely proud of his team after this ‘perfect’ performance, made possible by a “brilliant” strategy.
“Together with the guys back home [at the factory they are] a brilliant team,” Wolff said to Sky Sports. “I’m so proud.
“This takes a courageous move.”
“When you see the gap widen to over twenty seconds you can’t believe you’re overtaking, but we saw that Max Verstappen’s tires were suffering a bit more and we stayed close. Our planner showed that he would overtake him with one lap to go.”
Hamilton once more showed the numbers wrong as the Briton overtook his Dutch opponent six laps earlier than expected, before crossing the line in the first position, thanks to an amazing strategy.