Toto Wolff weighs in on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s latest spat

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton explaining to Max Verstappen in the press conference. Hungary July 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton explaining to Max Verstappen in the press conference. Hungary July 2023

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton’s comment about having “stronger” teammates than Max Verstappen is “just part of the fun” of drivers having a “poke” at one another.

Having taken the World title from Hamilton back in 2021, a contentious campaign involving more than its fair share of back-and-forth digs and two big crashes, Verstappen is marching toward a third successive World title while Hamilton hasn’t won a race since that season.

Verstappen is comfortably ahead in the Drivers’ standings, 145 points ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez in a season in which he has claimed 12 wins to the Mexican driver’s two.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Toto Wolff downplays Lewis Hamilton’s ‘stronger’ quip

It had Hamilton saying on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix that Verstappen’s teammates are weaker than the drivers he had to beat on his way to his seven World titles.

“In my personal opinion,” the 38-year-old told Sky Italia, “all my teammates have been stronger than the teammates Max has had: Jenson [Button], Fernando [Alonso], George [Russell], Valtteri [Bottas], Nico [Rosberg].

“I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very, very strong, very consistent – and Max has not raced against anyone like that.”

But while the Dutchman didn’t appreciate Hamilton’s assessment, saying it sounds like he’s “jealous”, Wolff says it’s nothing more than drivers have a “poke” in “fun” at one another.

“First of all, it’s obvious that the drivers like to poke each other a bit,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told the media including

“But then you can say that Lewis has raced three World Champions. He raced Jenson, he raced Fernando and he raced Nico.

“But I don’t want to in any way diminish anybody’s performance because Max in the car is outstanding.

“So it’s just part of the fun.” recommends

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Max Verstappen’s response to Lewis Hamilton’s claim

But it’s fair to say if it was a joke, Verstappen wasn’t laughing.

Told of Hamilton’s comments, he not only questioned whether the Briton was “jealous” of his success but said that it seems to him Mercedes have a “hard time dealing with losing”.

“Maybe he’s a little jealous of my current success,” he said. “This kind of statement… he possibly thinks he’s winning something with that, but it makes no difference to me.

“I think Mercedes have a very hard time dealing with losing, after all these years of winning so much. At some point, you have to be realistic and then you have to be able to appreciate what other teams are doing.”

He added: “You can keep shouting and screaming that what we do is not that special… you just have to deal with yourself.”

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