Toto Wolff quizzed on Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s qualifying “battle”

“Will that battle ebb and flow?"

(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 with Lewis Hamilton (GBR)…

Lewis Hamilton reduced the deficit to 2-8 in qualifying head-to-heads against George Russell in Barcelona.

The dominance of the younger Mercedes driver on Saturdays this season has become a talking point, since Hamilton oddly claimed he did not expect to out-qualify him for the rest of the year.

But at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, Hamilton qualified third, one place in front of Russell.

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater asked Mercedes boss Toto Wolff: “Will that battle ebb and flow?

“The better the car, the more energised Lewis will be?”

Wolff responded: “I think he has always been energised. The gaps are so tiny.

“It can swing one direction or the other.

“I’m happy it went good for him [on Saturday].”

Notably Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was denied pole position by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Wolff was asked if Verstappen missing pole gave encouragement to the chasing pack.

“I’m not sure it’s a boost,” Wolff said. “He has been beaten by Norris.

“Look at ourselves, three tenths [behind].

“Let’s see how the McLarens go. It’s good that there is one challenger. Maybe we can have a good day.”

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will line up in fifth and sixth after a razor-close qualifying session behind the Mercedes pair.

Wolff summarised his team’s Saturday.

“It’s not great,” he said. “Third and fourth could have been fifth and sixth because it was so close to the Ferraris.

“Three tenths to the leaders. It didn’t look that way on [Friday]. Maybe we were too optimistic.

“Overall it’s a solid result but no more than that.”

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