Toto Wolff has made a shocking admission regarding Lewis Hamilton, saying the situation a few years earlier almost pushed him over the edge.
Mercedes is a well-oiled winning machine which is clinical in everything they do. Their relentless approach and discipline has overseen seven Constructors’ Championships, and an era of success.
However, the situation until five years ago was the equivalent of sitting on a ticking bomb. The core of the device was Hamilton and then-teammate Nico Rosberg, who were bitter enemies during their time at Mercedes.
It got so toxic that both drivers were on the receiving end of warnings and disciplinary action multiple times. The situation was a far cry from the one they face today, and it is still surprising as to how the environment became that negative.
Wolff made a shocking admission regarding Hamilton, and said that he came very close to outright benching him.
When asked by the Daily Mail about his relationship with Hamilton, Wolff said, “We’ve been together since 2013. We know each other so well, there’s so much trust and respect,” before dropping the bombshell.
“I was close to putting a driver on the bench when it was Lewis and Rosberg. Twice. In 2014 and 2016.
“I said I would judge over 48 hours whether one needed to sit out. I still don’t know who it would have been. But that was long ago. It is unimaginable given the relationship I have with Lewis today that it could happen now.”
The Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry has been well-documented, with the two drivers doing everything they could to beat the other. This included antics like taking each other out, deliberately crashing to prevent the other from doing well, among other things.
Hamilton beat Rosberg in 2014 and 2015, but Rosberg prevailed the following year. It would be the last time we saw the German in F1, as he announced his shock retirement from the sport and left Mercedes scrambling to find a replacement.
Wolff will be hoping such a situation never happens again. It was a PR fiasco for the team, and a situation they still get bad press for.