Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has played down claims that he and Lewis Hamilton shared a heated exchange during qualifying at Imola on Friday.
The seven-time former World Champion was unable to get out of Q2 and could only manage 13th on the grid for the first sprint of the season.
It could have been worse though as Hamilton scraped into Q2 by just four thousandths of a second.
When quizzed about the incident, Hamilton had said: “That’s all internal stuff, so I won’t share that. But we’ll just keep working. It is what it is, it’s kind of…(shrugs). We’ll just keep working hard. Each weekend’s a rescue.”
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However, Wolff has insisted there was no argument at all, rather a shared anger about the team’s current situation.
It has been something of a fall from grace for the reigning World Champions, who find themselves languishing in the midfield having been unable to challenge for wins.
The wet conditions during qualifying did not flatter the W13, with the team enduring their worst qualifying performance since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.
It is a situation that frustrates Wolff, but also Hamilton who missed out on the title last season. The Mercedes boss admitted to Sky F1 the pair were “venting” at each other.
“There was no disagreement at all,” said Wolff. “It doesn’t go any closer like the two of us are. We were just so angry about the session overall, him and I, and he vented at me, I vented at him but it was absolutely about the same thing.
“It’s just a degree of frustration that we are not able to generate the grip on the first lap and yesterday was all about first lap. Then it red-flagged and we weren’t able to make it into Q3 and it’s so frustrating.”
Hamilton ended the sprint down in 14th place, one place lower than he had qualified. His team-mate George Russell fared a bit better but could only manage 11th with both drivers unable to score points.
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