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Adversity has 'woken the lion' in Lewis Hamilton, says Toto Wolff

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Hamilton holds off Gasly, Alonso to lead in Qatar (0:28)

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen make excellent starts at the Qatar Grand Prix. (0:28)

Lewis Hamilton is delivering superhero performances because recent adversity has "woken up the lion" in the seven-time world champion, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Eight days ago Hamilton's title chances appeared to have been dealt a severe blow at the Brazilian Grand Prix when his Mercedes' rear wing failed a scrutineering test after qualifying, dropping him to the back of the grid for the sprint race.

Hamilton fought back to win in Brazil with one of his greatest career performances, following that up this weekend with a dominant win at the Qatar Grand Prix.

In doing so, Hamilton has cut Max Verstappen's championship lead from 19 points to eight in two races. There are two races left to run.

Wolff said Hamilton performs best when his back is up against the wall.

"They have woken up the lion on the Saturday in Interlagos. He is absolutely on it. Brutal. And cold blooded," Wolff said.

"This is the best in Lewis. We've seen it in the past and this is right there [with his best]."

He added: "I think when adversity happens it takes him to a place where he is able to mobilise superhero powers. It was the adversity that triggered that at Interlagos."

Hamilton can guarantee the championship goes to the final race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 12, by winning or finishing ahead of Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia in two weeks' time.