Toto Wolff accuses Max Verstappen of ‘revenge foul’ against Lewis Hamilton

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen explains during a press conference. Spain May 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen explains during a press conference. Spain May 2023

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team take responsibility for their side of the Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen impeding incident in Austria, but feels Verstappen made sure to get his “revenge”.

The sprint shootout session to determine the grid for the Austria sprint could not have had much more contrasting fortunes for Verstappen and Hamilton.

While Verstappen would take a comfortable pole position, his second of the race weekend at the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton found himself going no further than the SQ1 session, with Verstappen playing a key role in that.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton impeding drama

Hamilton had one final push lap available to make it to the second stage of the sprint shootout, his previous best time having been chalked off for track limits, but as he was on his preparation lap, Mercedes came over the radio to warn him that Verstappen would be closing in fast.

The Dutchman would indeed come up to the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes through Turn 10, promptly complaining that Hamilton had blocked his path through that final turn.

“He blocked me into the last corner, so I had to brake more and I lost like three-tenths,” Verstappen told reporters. “So that wasn’t ideal, and I think not correct.

“There was still a few seconds left on the clock so I didn’t know if my lap time was going to be safe and I wanted to continue.

“But ran out of time, space, with the two cars like that, which was a bit of a shame.”

Verstappen then proceeded to return the favour, moving past Hamilton into Turn 1 and ending Hamilton’s chances of setting a faster time in the process, meaning he was eliminated in SQ1. recommends

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Max Verstappen committed a “revenge foul”

Wolff said that Mercedes were prepared to hold their hands up and admit that their communication with Hamilton led to the initial incident, but the Austrian said what Verstappen did in return amounted to a “revenge foul”.

The stewards did not move to even note the incident, but Wolff expects the matter to crop up at next week’s drivers’ briefing ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

“The mistake happened on our side,” said Wolff as per Sky F1. “The communication between us and Lewis didn’t give him the right information to get out of Max’s way.

“I think no one wants to be in anybody’s way because if you impede, you’re getting penalised, so that was not the aim.

“On the other side, Turn 1 was a revenge foul [by Verstappen]. It was just to make sure that his [Hamilton’s] lap was ruined.

“So one was not intentional, the other one was intentional – but who cares? At the end, we looked at whether it was going to change our race or not…

“But I think they’re going to talk about it at the drivers’ briefing next week.”

Hamilton went on to record a P10 finish in the Austria sprint, while Verstappen claimed victory, 21 seconds up the road from Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, to extend his Drivers’ Championship lead to 70 points.

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