After a heated discussion between Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time world champion was knocked out of qualifying in Q2, former F1 champion Nico Rosberg has commented on what he believes happened between the two. While both Wolff and Hamilton have been tight-lipped about their reported confrontation with Wolff saying their were simply “venting” to each other, Rosberg there was more anger than originally believed.
“If I have to speculate now, it looked to me that Toto was annoyed about something Lewis had done, which might be understandable,”
“Lewis could have been very frustrated on the internal Mercedes garage radio or something, complaining to them that they didn’t follow his thoughts on what they should have done with strategy or complaining about the car or something.
“Lewis also got out of the car before [Q2] was over and there might be still a one per cent chance the track could be in a good shape towards the end of qualifying. Maybe Toto was angry about that.
“It just shows the stress is starting to get to them within there, because rather than going forward at the moment they are actually going backwards. I mean, they were almost two seconds a lap slower yesterday in qualifying – their worst qualifying in 10 years – so naturally… the tension is going to build internally.”
Now, after yet more disappointing performance from Hamilton eye brows will be raised when his performance is compared to George Russell. But Rosberg, who took the title with Mercedes in 2016, believes that if any team principal can bring the team together, it will be Toto Wolff.
“Toto is obviously one of the best team leaders we’ve ever seen in the sport. He’s very strong in keeping people together and motivated. Of course he will have outbursts of angriness, as we’ve maybe seen, but I still believe he’s the right guy to keep such a team going in such a difficult situation.
“[But] I can guarantee you nobody in Mercedes enjoys being two seconds off the pace and being out in Q2 with not a single chance to be somewhere at the front – definitely nobody likes that. That’s quite a horrible situation to be in for them, who are so used to success.
“So it’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to keep the morale high, to keep the motivation for everybody and also to not start blaming each other – ‘that’s your fault, that’s your fault’ – it can happen very quickly that you spiral downwards.”
Fans will surely be questioning how much effort Lewis is putting into his racing compared to George who has almost always been above the Brit. It certainly seems as though Hamilton has lost confidence with Mercedes and this is something that will need to be attended to swiftly before it is too late. Whatever the reasoning behind this, I’m hoping Russell is ready for a pay rise.