Toto Wolff: Lewis Hamilton set precedent in Abu Dhabi F1 decider

Lewis Hamilton's tactics in the Formula 1 title decider in Abu Dhabi have set a precedent Mercedes will have to consider for the future, according to Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff: Lewis Hamilton set precedent in Abu Dhabi F1 decider

While Nico Rosberg took the world championship with second place at Yas Marina on Sunday, race winner Hamilton tried to back his team-mate into the chasing pack in a bid to overhaul him in the title race.

Hamilton ignored instructions to up his pace to protect the race win for the team, and Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff said it needs to work out how to handle such a scenario.

"I'm in two minds: one half of me says undermining a structure in public means you're putting yourself before the team - that's very simple," said Wolff after the race.

"Anarchy doesn't work in any team or any company.

"The other half says it was his only chance of winning the championship at that stage and maybe you cannot demand a racing driver to comply in a situation where his instincts did not make him comply.

"It's about finding a solution to solve the problem in the future because a precedent has been set.

"Let me sleep over that and come up with a solution tomorrow."

When asked if Hamilton could face punishment for ignoring team instructions, Wolff added: "This is something I will keep internal.

"I need to form an opinion, which I haven't yet."

Wolff stressed that Mercedes only got involved when it sensed occasions in the race that could have cost the team victory.

"There were two moments in the race where there was a risk that we would be losing the race," he said.

"One was [Max] Verstappen, because it was not clear whether he was on a one-stop; he was in a good position.

"The other was [Sebastian] Vettel lapping two seconds quicker [on super-soft tyres in the final stint].

"Our number one principle for the past three years - and it doesn't matter if it's the first race or the last - is to secure the win.

"You can question that, whether it's the right principle going forward, but that's exactly what we did on the pitwall.

"There were these two moments and this is why we asked him to increase the pace."

When Hamilton failed to follow instructions communicated by his race engineer, the radio call then came from Paddy Lowe, which Wolff described as "the highest escalation we have".

Asked what Mercedes could decide to do in future he added: "Everything is possible - maybe we want to give them even more freedom in racing each other, or we could to go the more harsh side if we feel the values were not respected.

"These [options] are 180 degrees [apart] and I'm not yet sure where the needle is going to go."

shares
comments
Sainz criticises inconsistent penalties after Palmer Abu Dhabi clash

Previous article

Sainz criticises inconsistent penalties after Palmer Abu Dhabi clash

Next article

Jenson Button 'really emotional' after early exit from last F1 race

Jenson Button 'really emotional' after early exit from last F1 race
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021