Toto Wolff fears backlash after losing another Mercedes talent to Red Bull – “I think I would need vodka”

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have put in a commendable shift in the last couple of years, with Max going on to win successive world championships to end a lengthy barren spell for his team.

He is one of the most talented drivers on the track and his recent success has made him the undisputed number 1 driver of the team.

Sergio Perez, on the other hand, has done reasonably well, while not lighting the stage on fire with his performances.

He is in many ways exactly the sort of second driver Red Bull wants, but the personal relationship between the Spaniard and Max is not believed to be the best.

There may come a time when Perez does finally make way for a new talent to partner Max.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff knows just the guy who can do a stellar job for the Austrian sports drink manufacturer.

Wolff believes Nyck de Vries would be a great candidate for the Red Bull seat once it is vacant.

De Vries was part of the Mercedes set up and eventually left the team at the end of last season to pursue a full-time role with AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team.

Wolff was disappointed to see de Vries leave as he felt he was proving to be a perfect understudy to Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes boss was eventually powerless in stopping the move and accepts that this could come back to bite him and his team in the long term.

“I hope that he stays there, and I hope that he’s successful in AlphaTauri,” Wolff said.

“I hope he will be good enough to make it into a Red Bull seat one day, because he deserves that. And then we will take it like sportsmen, and we will fight it out.”

It was obvious to everyone present that Wolff was a big fan of de Vries.

Naturally, a journalist asked the Austrian if he would consider re-signing Nyck in the future.

“I thought about it and I will have to consider it,” Wolff said.

Wolff then explained how Russell’s career trajectory could be similar to Nyck.

Toto Wolff. Credit:
Toto Wolff. Credit:

“I mean, we’ve been watching him grow up and go through the ranks,” Wolff said regarding Russell.

“He won every single category that he competed in. And now we’re having a young man that will establish himself in Formula One and already won his first race. And I think he’s on a very good trajectory.”

Toto was equally optimistic about Hamilton’s return to form following a far from satisfactory season in 2022 where he failed to win a single Grand Prix for the first time in his career.

“It’s a highly technical sport and if we can’t give him a car that is quick enough, then it’s the fault of the team,” Wolff said.

“And we just had a chat out there and he said, ‘this car is just a handful’.

“He said we lost one second of grip between FP3 and qualifying.

“Suddenly you’re competitive in FP3 and we think that we can fight for pole position and then suddenly we’re six or seven tenths off.

“If he would have told me last year, we are six and a half tenths of the pole, I think that I would need vodka.”

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