Toto Wolff slammed and urged to ‘show more respect’ to Lewis Hamilton after public outburst during Austrian GP

Reputed F1 commentator Peter Windsor has urged Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to ‘show more respect’ to Lewis Hamilton after their communication during the Austrian Grand Prix was aired during the live broadcast.

Windsor felt that the manner in which Wolff spoke with Hamilton not only ‘left a bad taste’ but also clearly showed a lack of ambition and progress on Mercedes’ part.

Lewis Hamilton. Credit:
Lewis Hamilton. Credit:

With the W14 being heavily revised in recent weeks, perhaps a lot more was expected from it, but it has still been far off the pace compared to Red Bull’s RB19.

Hamilton finished the sprint race in 18th position and constantly complained about the car over the team radio.

The seven-time world champion was also the first driver to incur a time penalty for multiple track limit breaches.

While Hamilton was venting his frustration over the car, Wolff got on the team radio and firmly told his driver: “Lewis, the car is bad, we know. Please drive it.”

Windsor was appalled with the manner in which Wolff communicated with his driver.

“There was a comment from Toto Wolff two-thirds of the way through the race which, for me, left a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth because it was Lewis again going on about track limits,” Windsor said.

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff. Credit:
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff. Credit:

“It was a bit like that comment to Charles Leclerc in Canada – a bit schoolmaster talking to the pupil – and he said: ‘Yes, Lewis, we know the car is bad. Get on and drive the race, please.’

“I just thought, ‘Wow’, [firstly] for all the song and dance about the [upgrades] and how improvements are there and they’re moving forward and the setup and getting the tyres in the right window.

“And [secondly], to speak to Lewis like that – ‘get on and race’ – this guy’s a seven-times World Champion, he does deserve a little bit more respect than that, I think.

“I just felt a little bit uneasy hearing that. It probably goes on all the time but I just wish we didn’t hear all the radio all the time if it’s going to be like that.

“I’m surprised. If anything’s going to be driving Lewis crazy it’s going to be stuff like that because, if nothing else, he wants to enjoy his racing now.

“There’s not much else to do because he ain’t going to be winning, the car’s not very good, he’s got the British Grand Prix coming up – his race, if you like – so at least just enjoy it even if he’s midfield.

“But if you’re going to be spoken to like that by your team principal it’s not really fun either, is it? I wouldn’t have thought it was anyway.

“Maybe Lewis can shrug it off. He seems to be able to shrug everything else off [that’s happened] over the last two years very impressively, so good luck to him if he can do that.”

Toto Wolff. Credit:
Toto Wolff. Credit:

Hamilton is yet to sign a contract extension at Mercedes and while this interaction will not single-handedly change his stance on whether he wants to continue at the Silver Arrows, it does make you wonder whether something is brewing in the background.

Wolff had made it a priority to sort Hamilton’s contract out ahead of the 2023 season and while that did not materialise, the Austrian has admitted that only the ‘finer details’ are yet to be ironed out at this stage.

It is believed that the length of the contract as well as the finances have been agreed upon by both parties and an announcement should be imminent.

Read more: Hamilton and Aston Martin join hands in heavy criticism of FIA’s biased officiating – “Are these guys even watching?”

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