Toto Wolff blasts ‘over-confident’ Verstappen over Bottas crash
Toto Wolff believes Max Verstappen ‘drives differently’ against Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes chief was asked whether he thinks the reigning Formula 1 champion ‘drives harder’ against his pilots than others in light of his recent feud with George Russell.
To which, Wolff responded: “No. Max drives differently against Lewis.” He added: “They come from the same generation of drivers. They fight hard among themselves, but they also know each other well. The two of them probably already had this situation when they were ten years old and Karting. That’s part of racing.”
Verstappen’s relationship with Mercedes has been very tense in recent years. Hamilton and Verstappen had a nasty crash at the 2021 British Grand Prix and a controversial ending to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The latest altercation came in the immediate aftermath of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint event with Russell and Verstappen trading verbal jabs in the paddock after colliding on turn two. Russell said: “I’ve got no grip” as the Red Bull driver fired back: “We all have no grip; we all need to leave a little bit of space”. Russell walked off, and Verstappen called out: “Expect the same next time” before dubbing the Mercedes star a “d***head”.
In response to the incident, Wolff said: “They’re all p****d off when they lose. If your teammate wins and you finish third because you’re lacking performance because of a hole in the car, you’re obviously angry.
“Everyone lets it out in a different way. As long as you’re authentic about it, that’s good, and Max is very straightforward. An hour later he’s forgotten about it. It’s all good.”
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Giving his analysis of the tangle, Wolff continued: “Verstappen tried to hold the position on the outside. It’s not an easy position for that. His anger is understandable, but so is Russell’s behaviour. It’s clear that nobody is giving in, and I guess it’s not the first time that the two have had a situation like this.”
When asked who is to blame for the collision, he added: “I don’t know if it was 70-30 or 60-40 or 50-50. But somewhere in the region.
“If I’m George, I’ll do the same. If I’m Max, I’ll be angry too. It’s always risky on the outside because you’ll either be pushed off the road or you’ll end up in the wall if you’re not straight on the inside have a very weak opponent. If you drive on the inside, you have to create a fairly acute angle. If you turn in hard, you will lack speed on the next straight.”
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