Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes this year’s Formula One title fight between his drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will go down to the wire.
The German enjoyed a perfect start to his 2016 campaign, racking up four consecutive victories to open a 43-point gap over his British rival. However, Hamilton has won five of the last six races, including the recent Hungarian Grand Prix, to emerge six points clear of his team-mate in the standings.
Asked whether he feels Rosberg will now struggle to challenge Hamilton, Wolff replied: “No, I don’t think so because at the beginning of the season he won so many points against Lewis and you see it swings in both directions.
“I think at that stage it’s important to finish, the car is capable of winning a race and being solidly on the podium. It’s about avoiding mistakes, DNFs are what can cost you the championship.
“And I think we are going to see that the momentum continue to swing throughout the season and my feeling is that the championship is going to go to the end.
“I remember we had the same discussion when Nico was doing really well at the end of last season and he maintained that momentum into the current year and he was outperforming Lewis quite a lot at the beginning.
“Everyone said ‘Is this the new Nico?’ And then it turned around but there is no single event I could attribute to a change of performance.”
Although Mercedes has a healthy lead in both championships, Wolff does not want to play down any threat from Ferrari and Red Bull over the second half of the season.
“I think if you have that attitude you are going to be beaten. You need to see the threat and you need to be conscious that at any track somebody could do a better job, but equally you must keep in mind that next season is important and the changes in regulations is important.
“We’re trying to stay pretty unemotional about the situation, just deploy the best possible engineering, the way that we prepare for the race and the way we execute the race and deploy the track side engineering.
“Equally the team in the UK needs to work as good as possible for next year and not get drawn into 2016 and that is a constant balance.”
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