Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has stated that there were no issues with the race stewards following George Russell’s illegal overtake on Lewis Hamilton, which he appreciated.
Toto Wolff claims Race Control ignored George Russell’s illegal overtaking on his teammate Lewis Hamilton during last weekend’s race in Miami. Russell finished fifth in the Miami Grand Prix after passing Hamilton late.
Russell had started the Miami race from 12th place on the grid but took advantage of an extended stint on Hards to pit behind a Safety Car and rejoin the race slightly behind Hamilton.
After Russell left the track at Turn 11, he tried a number of times to get through on his favourable plan, but Wolff claims that race director Niels Wittich urged them to exchange positions.
“The was no dialogue with the FIA and I think that is how it should be,” Wolff said. “It is the FIA coming back to us and saying, ‘They need to change position.’”
The move happened after confusion over whether Mercedes wanted to pull Hamilton into the pits or not, and the seven-time world champion was annoyed that he was asked for his opinion when he didn’t have all of the facts.
“In that scenario, I have no clue where everyone is and so when the team say it’s your choice, I’m like ‘I don’t have the information to make the decision so that’s what your job is! Like make the decision for me, you’ve got all the details, I don’t,’” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
The 37-year old had four used pairs of tyres on hand, and he had been running on Mediums for the opening stint. The Softs may not have had the endurance to finish in sixth position, but Wolff believes he was put in a difficult situation.
“I think he was between a rock and a hard place because the Safety Car clearly came out in a situation that wasn’t favourable for him and was favourable for George in the back,” he said.
“George had a window with no one behind him, he was able to switch on a practically new medium and Lewis had to decide ‘Do I keep the position on a hard or do I go on a soft?’.”
“That would have also been tricky so that was probably a 50-50 decision and in the end, it didn’t work out for him,” he added. “It is not the first time this season that he has been unlucky with the Safety Car.”
Russell now leads Hamilton by 23 points in the Drivers’ Championship after finishing first in each of the last four races.