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F1 title will still be sweet despite virus disruption, says Wolff

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (right) and team principal Toto Wolff (left) greet fans onstage during an F1 live event to introduce drivers and team principals in Melbourne in this file picture taken on March 13, 2019. — AFP pic
Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (right) and team principal Toto Wolff (left) greet fans onstage during an F1 live event to introduce drivers and team principals in Melbourne in this file picture taken on March 13, 2019. — AFP pic

LONDON, Aug 3 — This year’s Formula One title will be just as precious as in other seasons despite the coronavirus-shortened schedule, says Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is hot favourite to be crowned champion for a record-equalling seventh time after his dramatic victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday.

Hamilton survived a tense last lap with a deflated and shredded tyre to finish ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and now holds a 30-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas after four races.

Covid-19 has caused major disruption to the Formula One season, which was originally scheduled to have a record 22 races.

There are 13 races planned but F1 bosses are hoping to add more dates to the calendar.

“I don’t think any championship is less valuable than another one,” Wolff told the BBC.

“You could argue a shorter championship means (you can afford) less faults and races where you don’t finish. For us and certainly for sports insiders, it is as valuable as any other.”

Wolff was cautious about Hamilton’s chances despite the dominance of Mercedes this season — Hamilton has won three of the four races, with Bottas victorious in the other one.

“We are not yet set for another title,” said the 48-year-old Austrian.

“Because you have to have the mindset of permanent scepticism, and really stay both feet on the ground. It is not over until it is over.”

Mercedes will be seeking to make it five from five next weekend in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, also being held at Silverstone. — AFP

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