Naomi Schiff spots key Toto Wolff giveaway in gloomy Sky F1 interview

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff standing for the national anthem of Italy with the Mercedes team.

Toto Wolff standing for the national anthem of Italy with the Mercedes team.

Interviewing Toto Wolff after the Italian Grand Prix, Naomi Schiff feels the Mercedes team boss’ body language spoke “one thousand words” and they all said Mercedes were never in the fight at Monza.

Failing to reach the podium since Lewis Hamilton’s third-placed finish at the British Grand Prix, Mercedes thought for a moment that it would be possible at Monza when George Russell qualified P4.

It, however, wasn’t to be with the Briton falling to fifth place while Lewis Hamilton went from eighth on the grid to sixth at the chequered flag.

Toto Wolff concedes Mercedes couldn’t be ‘satisfied’ with Monza performance

Both Mercedes drivers incurred five-second time penalties during the race with Russell leaving the track and gaining an advantage as he battled Esteban Ocon for position, while Hamilton clouted Oscar Piastri and was penalised for causing a collision.

The penalties had little impact on the race result with neither Russell nor Hamilton able to take the fight to those ahead, the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

It had Wolff saying the team couldn’t be “satisfied” with the result on a day when Ferrari finished 3-4 to take third place in the Constructors’ Championship and close their deficit to Mercedes to 45 points.

Schiff says Wolff’s “demeanour” says Mercedes were never in the fight at Monza.

“Body language speaks one thousand words,” said the Sky Sports analyst.

“Sometimes they don’t tell us the full picture and we kind of have to read between what we can see on track and what they tell us.

“But there you can really tell in his demeanour that it’s not the result they wanted.

“The penalties didn’t help but they weren’t in the fight anyway, today.

“The good thing for them, though, is that consistently they’re more often there than some of the teams around them so it might be a track-specific thing.

“We’ll go to some other tracks this season that will have higher speeds than this track which is something they have to work on for the future.”

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The future is exactly what Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes are now focused on, the former driver saying all their efforts are now with 2024 in mind.

“Yes, totally, by now you have to be,” said Mercedes’ 2016 World Champion.

“That’s why Mercedes can accept that this is an outlier in terms of track and car aerodynamics required that they accept ‘okay, it’s just not the best track for us’.

“They will be focused on getting the best from Singapore where they have much higher hopes.”

Read next: Italian Grand Prix conclusions: Ominous Max, Ferrari’s new ‘redprint’, Hamilton’s clumsiness