Former F1 champion alleges frosty relationship between Hamilton and Wolff following 2021 fall-out

The first break in the 2022 championship has arrived this weekend after two rather forgettable rounds for Mercedes.

While new driver George Russell has managed to notch consecutive top-5 finishes, things have not panned out all that well for star driver Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was involved in an intense battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen last year.

He was left heartbroken after dubious officiating in the season-decider saw the Dutchman win his maiden F1 championship.

Hamilton may well have maintained his silence and accepted the outcome graciously, but many people became disillusioned with the direction the sport was heading in.

Hamilton asks for more transparency in F1

Mercedes. Credit: planetf1.com

Hamilton has now opened up about his thoughts on the race following an FIA inquiry that looked into the matters that decided the title.

“Look, I wasn’t expecting an apology and it is not something I have focused on,” he said.

“We know that is the way it is, and that was probably not going to happen.

“But at least there is that transparency, and it has been called a human error and that is a positive step.

“We cannot go back unfortunately and change the past so I just look at what I can do now.

Big changes have been implemented this year in F1 which has changed the way drivers go about wheel-to-wheel racing and overtaking.

Friction between hamilton and Wolff appears to have been building for a while.

Before the final race in Abu Dhabi, the two found themselves at loggerheads during the Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was rather frustrated with his team’s decision to pit him when he held third position with eight laps to go.

As things turned out, he ended the race in fifth position and also lost his top spot to Verstappen in the overall drivers’ standings.

However, Wolff did not think his team did anything wrong in asking Hamilton to pit, but agreed that they may have got the timing of the call wrong.

Following the race, Wolff said, “I think in the car it is always very difficult to assess your position in the race.

“We could have either played it very conservatively and pitted him when Verstappen, Perez at the time pitted and then fought it out on track.

“[We would have] probably come out behind Perez and fight for P4, P3 on track.

“The other thing was to try to go long and either think it’s transitioning to a dry tyre or just not stopping anymore. So there were two possible options that sounded quite good.”

‘Hamilton wants to distance himself from Wolff’

Lewis Hamilton. Credit: autoweek.com

Had things panned out differently, Hamilton would have eclipsed the legendary Michael Schumacher into becoming the first driver to bag eight F1 world championships.

As Verstappen pulled off a heist in the final lap to clinch his first title, Hamilton could be heard at the time absolutely livid with the decision-making.

The Mercedes driver even blurted out on team radio at the time that the race was “manipulated”. Wolff seemed equally unhappy with how things transpired and told race director Michael Masi that his decision was “not right”.

While Wolff continued to be vocal about his displeasure, Hamilton took the route of silence.

Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that this stems from Hamilton’s need to distance himself from his boss.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Villeneuve gave his analysis of Hamilton’s silence.

“I interpret Hamilton’s silence as him wanting to put some distance between himself and Toto Wolff,” he said.

“You can lose with style, whereas Toto behaved like someone who is playing Monopoly. The moment he is losing, he throws the whole board into the air. In doing so, Wolff suffered a lot of image damage, in my opinion.

“Hamilton is sensitive to that because he is thinking about his future in America, maybe even in Hollywood.”

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