Wolff withholding judgement on Vettel


Toto Wolff has reiterated that he would like to speak with Sebastian Vettel before passing judgement on his Baku actions.

Vettel was hit with a ten-second stop-go penalty for dangerous driving after he swerved into Lewis Hamilton when he felt that the Mercedes driver had brake-checked him.

But while Hamilton says Vettel “disgraced” himself with his actions, Wolff is withholding judgement.

Asked about Hamilton’s comments, he told the official F1 website: “Did he really say that?

“Well, the emotions go high in a race car. You have your visor down and have your own perception of what is reality.

“The only explanation that I have to this wording is that Sebastian thought that Lewis was brake-testing him – which was not the case. That we have seen in the data.

“So it was probably a wrong judgement from Sebastian’s side.

“What happened after that I find it hard even to think that he bumped into Lewis on purpose! I’d like to speak to him personally rather than making a pre-judgement only on hearsay!”

As for whether he agreed with the penalty, especially if Vettel’s actions were deliberate, he replied: “Well, if a driver does something like this on purpose – in sheer anger – then you need to think about the size of the penalty.

“He is a four-time World Champion – and we are setting examples to all the young drivers out there about what is allowed and what a no-go. So we have to think twice!”

Following weeks of talk of mutual respect between Vettel and Hamilton as they fight for this year’s World title, Wolff hopes that respect will remain even if friendship does not.

“They are warriors! In the race you are at war! You don’t want to miss out on anything.

“Yes, during the race they are ‘enemies’ and it can get very emotional if you think that somebody is doing something to you. But as I said before – the data show that Lewis didn’t brake test.

“So yes, the heat will go up – but after the race we should all be able to have a beer together, like in many other sports. So I think there is no damage to the respect. I hope not.

“This sport needs rivalry – and what we have seen has the ingredients of a great championship. Those who fight for the title in the end cannot be friends – that is for sure – so what can remain is respect. Maybe we’ve seen the limitations of that respect.”