Sao Paulo GP: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff frustrated by decisions and says Max Verstappen should have had penalty

Mercedes’ team boss explains why Lewis Hamilton’s comeback triumph is so satisfying for the world champions after a weekend of frustrations at a typically dramatic Interlagos

Last Updated: 14/11/21 11:27pm


The stewards investigated this incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the Red Bull driver defended his lead

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The stewards investigated this incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the Red Bull driver defended his lead

The stewards investigated this incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the Red Bull driver defended his lead

Toto Wolff described Lewis Hamilton’s stunning comeback win in the Sao Paulo GP as the most satisfying of his glittering time at Mercedes, as the team boss elaborated on his frustrations about recent decisions he feels have gone against his team amid their tense Red Bull title fight.

An animated Wolff clenched his fists in celebration and then pointed in the direction of the world-feed camera positioned in Mercedes’ garage when Hamilton crossed the line to claim a crucial win ahead of title rival Max Verstappen from 10th on the grid, at the end of dramatic weekend of investigations and penalties at Interlagos.

“That was just friendly hello at the race director,” said Wolff of his celebration.

The victory was Mercedes’ 112th in Wolff’s nine seasons at the team he co-owns but asked by Sky Sports F1’s Simon Lazenby if it was perhaps the most satisfying given the context of the weekend, the Austrian said: “Yes, it is.

“We started the weekend on the back foot with our self-inflicted engine penalty and then we got disqualified yesterday, which was harsh.

“Then today in the race things went against us too like this one decision.”

Anthony Davidson was at the SkyPad to analyse how Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Max Verstappen during the Sao Paulo GP

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Anthony Davidson was at the SkyPad to analyse how Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Max Verstappen during the Sao Paulo GP

Anthony Davidson was at the SkyPad to analyse how Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Max Verstappen during the Sao Paulo GP

Wolff expected Verstappen time penalty

The decision Wolff was referring to was the one by Race Control not to investigate Verstappen for his defence of position against Hamilton when the pair battled for the lead, and ran off track, at Turn Four on lap 48.

The officials duly ‘noted’ the incident, but soon determined no further analysis was warranted by the stewards, effectively waving ‘play on’.

“Lewis didn’t want to comment, I’d like to comment,” added Wolff after Hamilton had largely kept his counsel on the incident in his interview played out before immediately before his team boss’ appearance on Sky F1.

“Brilliant racing, I think you put the helmet on and said that that’s hard defending just to the limit. Lewis was super clever avoiding the contact, so it was great to see these two super drivers.

“But not giving it a five seconds [penalty] or so? Come on.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists their car complies with all the rules and has no concerns about a possible protest from Red Bull

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists their car complies with all the rules and has no concerns about a possible protest from Red Bull

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists their car complies with all the rules and has no concerns about a possible protest from Red Bull

Already left frustrated by the stewards’ decision to disqualify Hamilton from the results of qualifying for a DRS infringement when they had agreed with Mercedes’ assessment that the part had broken, Wolff was seen in animated discussion with FIA technical chief Nikolas Tombazis on the grid before the race.

“I’m not [happy],” Wolff told Sky F1’s awaiting Martin Brundle immediately afterwards. “It’s being judged with two ways here in the sport at this time.

“We just heard for the third time in a row the Red Bull was allowed to change parts on the rear wing under parc ferme. I’m not complaining, we need to race anyway, but I need to clear that up with the FIA.”

His Red Bull counterpart soon countered that by saying: “I think he’s just trying to throw a bit of shade because it’s a very different thing to not passing a test.”

Three to go: How it stands in the title chases

Drivers’ Points
1) Max Verstappen 332.5
2) Lewis Hamilton 318.5
Constructors’
1) Mercedes 521.5
2) Red Bull 510.5

Reflecting on events of the weekend after the race, Wolff said: “I think the team has always been together but these decisions have brought us so close together.

“It’s against us and I think this is what Lewis felt all his life, and we now feel it together as a team – and we’re going to fight. We’re not going to be victims.

“That is the emotion we’re feeling in the garage at the moment.”




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