Toto Wolff accepted Lewis Hamilton’s rant at the team during the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix saying the pitwall is usually a frustrated driver’s trash bin.
The seven-time Formula 1 Champion’s rant over the team radio, expressing his anger with Mercedes’ strategy call during a Safety Car period towards the end of the race in the Netherlands was the talk of the town post race.
Toto Wolff, however tried to play down what happened, putting it down to emotions, claiming a team’s job is to put up with a frustrated driver.
“You get emotional, I do too in the race,” he said. “And when you’re a driver in the car, it just comes out of you. You can’t even stop it.
“We’re the trash bin, the vomit bag in the airplane, and we’re taking all that because we need to. This is how it has always been in a relationship between frustrated driver and the pit wall,” the Mercedes boss revealed.
Wolff added that what went down at Zandvoort was the result of Mercedes’ decision to take risks to secure a win, something that was discussed with Hamilton prior to the race.
“We have sat together; and we discussed the race strategy,” he said. “It was something that this morning we decided to take a risk.
“It really backfired for him,” the Austrian admitted. “I think overall the circumstances, I think having Max behind him and things like that, that was totally unpleasant.
“But there’s more positives to take. And this is what we have also chatted about: that the car is faster,” Wolff said trying to remain positive.
Mercedes screwed no matter the decision
On the other side of the garage, George Russell was pitted for Soft tyres – on his request and unlike Hamilton – and went on to overtake his teammate who also lost another position to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
That meant Russell was second behind race winner Max Verstappen, while Hamilton had to settle for fourth, Leclerc claiming the final podium position.
“It is so tremendously difficult to really make the right judgement call and especially if you have two drivers that are competing against each other also there,” Wolff reflected.
“We have had 10 years of this: one is going to be upset and the other one is going to be happy. And that’s the swings that we need to, in a way, balance out and just acknowledge that the frustration on one side is always big,” he revealed.
The Mercedes chief added that the team was stuck in a “damned if they did, damned if they didn’t situation” with Hamilton.
He said: “You can do two things; you can either pit Lewis and lose track position against Verstappen and leave George out screwed or you can pit both, screwed.
“So it was worth taking the risk,” Wolff maintained. (Additional reporting by Agnes Carlier)
‘We will be back.’ 💪🔥 pic.twitter.com/ytBSmxrfBL
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 5, 2022