Haas chief Guenther Steiner has offered his take on Toto Wolff’s message to FIA race director Michael Masi over Nikita Mazepin during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton ended up winning round four of the Formula 1 championship at the weekend after a clever two-stop strategy outfoxed Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team.
Earlier on in the race, though, Hamilton was looking to run longer than Verstappen around the first set of pit-stops to try and overhaul him there and then, with him setting about trying to set some quick lap times.
The Briton, as he closed up on Nikita Mazepin, was soon being aided by his boss Toto Wolff, too, as he got on the radio to FIA man Masi trying to get the blue flags out for a car that’s about to be lapped.
“Michael, blue flags,” said Wolff. “Michael this guy makes us lose the position.”
Indeed, the message was broadcast on the F1 world feed – a first in the sport to hear communication between a team boss and the FIA (though it obviously goes on a hell of a lot during a Grand Prix) – and Mazepin was soon out of the way.
Ultimately, Hamilton didn’t get past Verstappen at that point, but, in fairness, that wasn’t really down to the Russian impeding the hard-charging reigning champion.
And, that said, Haas boss Steiner leapt to his driver’s defence whilst also having a pop at Wolff.
“Nikita told me, ‘I didn’t hear the message’,” he said to the press.
“They just told me in the debrief that Toto said something, but I don’t know exactly why he said it because I don’t know the circumstances.
“I think Nikita did a good job to get out of it and maybe Toto being Toto just wanted to make sure that he showed who is in command here and that everybody should move when he is coming along.
“He didn’t let his guys do that work. He wanted a bit of publicity I guess.”
Steiner is certainly good value for money when it comes to a quote or two and he’s always quite bolshy when it comes to defending either his team or his drivers.
It’s certainly caused a stir hearing the communication live, too, and as fans of the sport, we’ll all be hoping for a bit more of that in the races to come.