Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff says it’s normal for F1 teams to become rubbish bins and ‘vomit bags’ for their drivers, as happened with Lewis Hamilton at the Grand Prix from the Netherlands on Sunday.
The Mercedes F1 team’s decision to split their strategy by pitting George Russell against Lewis Hamilton and staying away from Lewis Hamilton during the final safety car period at Zandvoort took a backseat to Hamilton.
When racing resumed, seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was passed by Max Verstappen to take the lead. Hamilton lost to Ferrari’s George Russell and Charles Leclerc in the following laps.
As he fell from 1st to 4th place, Lewis Hamilton’s anger only increased and he got lost.
“I can’t believe you screwed me up. I can’t express how angry I am right now,” Lewis Hamilton said.
In the end, Lewis Hamilton apologized to his team.
Toto Wolff, known for destroying his headphones when things go wrong, took no offense at Driver’s anger.
“It’s emotional, and me too during the race,” said Wolff.
“And when you’re a motorist, it’s something that happens. You can’t even stop it.”
“We are a trash can, a vomit bag on a plane. We take whatever action is necessary. It’s a constant relationship between a frustrated driver and the pit wall.”
Toto Wolff said a much calmer spirit prevailed during Mercedes’ post-race debriefing when every decision was seen as good or bad and justified.
“We sat together and discussed race strategy,” he said. “What made you decide to take a risk this morning?”
“It really backfired. Considering the whole situation, I think it was completely unpleasant with Max behind him.”
“But there are other positives, which we also talked about: the car is faster.”
Toto Wolff admitted that when teams hedge bets it is inevitable that one driver will be happy while the other scolds the team.
“It’s very difficult to really make the right decisions, especially when two drivers are racing each other,” Wolff said.
“We’ve been through this for the last 10 years. One side will be upset, the other side will be happy. And that’s a swing that we kind of have to balance, the frustration on the other side is always high.