'Maybe we unlocked something' - Wolff happy after Hamilton leads British GP qualifying

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wonders if his team has "unlocked something" after Lewis Hamilton's impressive run to fastest qualifier at the British Grand Prix.

The home favourite thrilled the Silverstone crowd as he pipped Max Verstappen by just 0.075s to top a qualifying session for the first time since Barcelona back in May on Friday.

Of course, the full pole position won't be decided until after Saturday's new Sprint race, but given the baron run Mercedes has been on, Wolff was simply delighted to be back on top.

“The empire strikes back,” he cheekily told Sky Sports Germany.

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Then on the UK broadcast, the Austrian added: “It‘s ‘just’ qualifying, but maybe we unlocked something because Lewis could have been another three-tenths up without the rallying in Sector 3.

"So it is good, I am happy about the pace."

This weekend, Mercedes has brought a pretty substantial upgrade to the W12. But after being initially almost 0.8s behind Verstappen in Practice, Wolff doesn't think that was the reason for the big improvement in qualifying.

"I think it is refined bits everywhere," he said.

"I think the tyres were in the right window and the sweet spot of the car... you can see how it can fluctuate from Verstappen being completely dominant in the morning session and then it swings the other way around."


Earlier in the day, Wolff had also struck a defiant tone when it comes to the significance of the British GP to Mercedes' championship aspirations in 2021.

"No, it’s just one race; this is motor racing," he said on if this weekend was a "defining moment".

"If you start to say ‘we have a gap and we won’t be able to catch up’ then you shouldn’t be here at all.

“I think it’s a test for the team, we had seven years that are fantastic and we definitely are not ready to give the baton to these guys [Red Bull] – but we’ll see where the season goes and then also what’s next.”