Lewis Hamilton’s Reserve Driver at Mercedes F1 Sums up the Sentiment Inside the Team

Published 01/02/2022, 5:10 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


The Mercedes F1 team has enjoyed an unprecedented dominance in the turbo-hybrid era, winning every title but one. After an intense 2021 F1 season, Max Verstappen clinched the drivers’ title after a clinical campaign. Admittedly, the last race was not the most dignified one; controversial decisions made by the race committee under the safety car made it a bitter pill to swallow for the Brackley-based outfit.

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Naturally, the outcome of the Abu Dhabi GP came as a big disappointment to team boss Toto Wolff. Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne recently talked about the sentiments inside the team after a distressing loss. Vandoorne currently competes in the Formula E championship for the Silver Arrows apart from serving as a test driver for the F1 team.

Wolff clearly looked frustrated and helpless during that contentious final lap, voicing his disappointment to race director Masi.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2021 Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the team principals press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Mercedes reserve driver makes an honest confession

Weeks after the Abu Dhabi GP, there is still an underlying disappointment in the Silver Arrows camp. The last-minute debacle cost Hamilton a record eighth title even though he dominated a large part of that race. In a recent interview, Stoffel Vandoorne confessed the team is still not over that loss. “You can literally feel the disappointment of losing the drivers’ championship,” said the Belgian.

“But that’s normal. Toto is an incredible fighter and runs the sport with a lot of passion. He lives for the team and then a defeat like Abu Dhabi, where victory slips away in this way, obviously hurts a lot,” Vandoorne added.

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Going ahead, the 29-year-old driver also mentioned the title fight this season pushed the team to work harder than ever. Mercedes has not witnessed such fierce competition in the past few years. “It was very interesting to see how the team dealt internally with the completely new situation and the competition against Red Bull Racing”

“They were perhaps even more motivated than in those years when they dominated. Because they knew that every weekend everything had to run perfectly and there was no room for error,” concluded the Belgian.

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However, now the 2021 season is behind them and the teams are looking forward to the 2022 season governed by a wholly distinct set of rules. F1 fans are expecting a shift in the dynamics on the grid next season. Tell us your predictions for the same.

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Rituraj Tripathi

249 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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