Toto Wolff admits Mercedes ‘got that wrong’ on Lewis Hamilton out-lap call

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton in conversation

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton talking

Toto Wolff admits there was a “miscommunication” from the Mercedes pitwall to Lewis Hamilton with the team failing to tell him his out-lap was critical in Monaco.

Trying to make up at least one place in a processional Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton, having started seventh, was one of a few drivers to come in for an in-race pit stop.

Toto Wolff: That was a miscommunication

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

In from seventh place, he came back out in P7 only for Max Verstappen, the driver who Mercedes had hoped to undercut, to stop the very next lap.

But unlike Hamilton, Verstappen pushed very hard on his in-lap which meant he returned to the track still ahead of the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton was not impressed. “Why didn’t you tell me out-lap was critical?” he questioned over the radio.

Wolff accepts that was a miscommunication on Mercedes’ part.

“That was a miscommunication first between us on the pitwall that we got that wrong,” he told the media including “It should have been an ‘out-lap critical’, trying to undercut.

“But then there was a debate whether any out-lap would be enough from the new tyre and so the message he got was at best confusing but probably wrong.

“It should have been an ‘out-lap critical’ and the worry in the background was that if we thrashed that tyre in a single lap then what would happen later.

“But in summary, wrong message to Lewis, this was the team’s fault.”

He added: “We wanted to be close to Verstappen and then do the undercut. Obviously we got the messaging completely wrong.”

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Toto Wolff: Balance it right and be transparent and fair

Radio messages aside, Hamilton wasn’t happy about Saturday’s qualifying when the Briton revealed he was surprised that he once lost to George Russell given the former Williams driver was running Mercedes’ new front wing.

The soon-to-be-former Mercedes driver added: “I don’t anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying particularly this year, but we’ve just got to just keep pushing and the races are strong.”

Asked why that was, he replied with a smile: “We’ll see.”

But while former W Series racer Naomi Schiff alluded to Hamilton being “the driver who is not favoured” given his decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari, Wolff insisted Mercedes’ only goal is to “maximise” their results.

Asked about the ‘state of the relationship’ between Mercedes and Hamilton, Wolff replied: “We’re trying to do the best out of the relationship and maximise the results for what is the final season.

“Always, between drivers and teams it can be tense at times, because everybody wants to do the best.

“I think, as a team, we’ve demonstrated even in the most tense competitions between team-mates we’re trying to always balance it right and be transparent and fair.

“I can understand it as a driver, you want the best out of yourself and the team, and sometimes when it’s going against you, you can question.

“But as a team, we’re 100 per cent on a mission of giving both drivers the best possible cars, strategies and support.”

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