Sao Paulo GP: Mercedes hope to 'break the pattern' vs Red Bull as Interlagos offers Sprint chance

[10-11-2021 03:05 PM]

Ammon News - Toto Wolff says Mercedes have some "catching up to do" and hopes the team can "break the pattern" at an Interlagos track he expects to suit Red Bull again for this weekend's Sao Paulo GP - although believes the third and final F1 Sprint of the season presents a vital opportunity.

Mercedes head into the final four rounds of an epic 2021 season on the back foot after seeing their constructors' advantage cut to just one point by Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton has slipped 19 points behind Max Verstappen, who was dominant in Mexico at the weekend.

That has raised the stakes for Brazil; a 10th win of the season for Verstappen would mean he could afford to finish second in the three remaining races and still clinch a maiden title.

Verstappen said after Sunday's race that he "doesn't believe in momentum" and that the two teams will be much closer in Brazil, but Wolff fears that the iconic Interlagos track will favour Red Bull again.

"I hope we can break the pattern because it was a Red Bull track," Wolff told Sky F1. "But we're going to give it all we can and try to fight back."

In the last four GPs in Brazil, Verstappen and Hamilton have won two apiece - although there is an added twist this weekend with the return of the Sprint. The short Saturday race will set the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

"It's not been our strongest track in recent seasons and has tended to suit Red Bull more, but this year has proved anything can happen," said Wolff. "It's the last Sprint race weekend, too, which opens up more opportunity."

The Sprint format not only brought added action and excitement to its previous weekends in Silverstone and Monza, but drama for the title rivals. Verstappen and Hamilton had their two big 2021 crashes on the Sundays following the Sprint.

Hamilton said he and Mercedes would "be in trouble" if Red Bull kept up their Mexico form, but he, his team boss and Verstappen all expect the title fight to go down to the wire.

"It's going to be really tight and exciting to the end," stated Verstappen.

Wolff added: "We'll be throwing everything we've got at the Brazilian Grand Prix and the races beyond.

"We're privileged to still be in the fight so late in the season and expect these titles to go right down to the wire, with both teams fighting hard to the very last lap.

"We've got some catching up to do and know it'll be an intense battle, but we'll continue to push hard and keep our eyes firmly set on the end goal."


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