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Wolff: Mercedes would have exploded with two Hamiltons

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Toto Wolff believes that Mercedes would have “exploded” had it raced with two Lewis Hamiltons in 2015 as the debate regarding its driver line-up continues.

Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg have been at loggerheads for much of the past two years during their battle for the Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with their rivalry flaring up once again at the end of the season following three successive wins for the German.

This prompted Wolff to issue a warning to both drivers, saying that he could be forced to change the line-up if their rivalry had a negative effect on the team.

However, in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Wolff said that the personalities of Hamilton and Rosberg do complement each other, and that having two of either driver would have been negative for the team.

“If we had two Hamiltons, the team would have probably exploded,” Wolff said. “Two Rosbergs would not make it easier though.

“The combination of the two is quite good. It is the ideal situation, even if it sometimes makes life hard. They are so different, they have an individual approach. This helps us to be better.”

Rosberg rallied in the final three races of the year to beat Hamilton and take his first career hat-trick, stoking the fire for another battle between the two in 2016.

Wolff feels that Hamilton became overly relaxed after winning the championship in Austin, but thinks that the Briton will be back to the top of his game for the new season.

“Psychology plays a major role,” Wolff said. “Lewis has achieved his goal, bagged the title and then relaxed a bit. Although that has perhaps only taken place subconsciously.

“At the same time, I do not want to detract from Nico’s performance. He showed in the last races a great performance.

“I think that’s good, because we have two great drivers in the team for next year. Both will be back to peak performance.

“This is a key to success for us. They both inspire and bring the team forward – although it caused many gray hairs.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.