Mercedes principal Toto Wolff believes giving Charles Leclerc a penalty at Monza for his defence against Lewis Hamilton would have caused “riots”.
Leclerc led the race from start to finish as he claimed back-to-back victories in Formula 1 and Ferrari’s first win on home soil since 2010, but that didn’t come without a little bit of controversy.
Hamilton put heavy pressure on Leclerc shortly after the Ferrari driver’s one and only stop, leading to Leclerc squeezing the Brit onto the run-off area.
Hamilton complained to his team that he was “pushed” by Leclerc, but a very quick stewards inquiry resulted in no further action.
Leclerc and Hamilton overtake Hulkenberg
Hamilton then tries to overtake the Ferrari but runs out of room!
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 8, 2019
Although Wolff credited Ferrari for a win which he felt was deserved, he also hinted that Leclerc could have easily received a penalty and believed the hostile home crowd would have caused “riots” if a penalty was given – potentially swaying the decision.
“He [Leclerc] drove a hard but brilliant race and Ferrari had the strongest package. We threw two of our guys at him and it still wasn’t enough,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“I think his driving was a little bit over the edge. But do you want to give him a penalty in Monza? I think we would have had riots here.
“This is another problem we have. We want to see hard racing but how far does the leniency go. He could have had a penalty for that, pushing Lewis off.
“But I want to give them the credit they had the strongest car here.”
When reviewing the footage of what happened with Sky Sports F1, Wolff added: “Yeah, he pushed him off. I have no doubt in a different circumstance we are going to play that video and show how it was in Monza back in 2019.”
Despite what went down, Wolff was satisfied with P2 for Valtteri Bottas and P3 for Hamilton.
“I said before the race if you gave us second and third I would have taken it, but from a global perspective it was great for Ferrari to win,” he concluded.