Wolff: Hamilton's Austrian GP time penalty for Albon clash "too harsh"

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks Lewis Hamilton's five-second penalty for a late clash with Alex Albon in the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix was "too harsh"

Wolff: Hamilton's Austrian GP time penalty for Albon clash "too harsh"

Hamilton was battling to hold onto second with Albon after the final safety car period of the race when they clashed at the Turn 4 right-hander, as the Red Bull driver tried to pass around the outside.

The stewards investigated the incident and decided that Hamilton should have given Albon more room.

It came after Hamilton was handed a three-place grid penalty less than an hour before the start for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying that he was originally cleared of, following a Red Bull protest.

Hamilton finished second on the road in Austria, but the five-second penalty meant he slipped behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and McLaren's Lando Norris on corrected time into fourth spot.

However, Wolff felt that Hamilton could not have done anything differently as he was already on full lock with his steering.

"The stewards are always in a difficult position to take the right decisions," said Wolff afterwards.

"I think today was a bad day for Lewis and a bad day for the team.

"Obviously the three grid position penalty that he got in the morning, with Red Bull digging out a different camera angle, you have to take it on the chin, and it is what it is.

"Then in the race, I would definitely say, from my perspective, the five seconds were too harsh. We looked at the video now a couple of times.

"Lewis was having full lock in the corner. Albon had about 40% of the road left to make the corner and it was different to lap one: where Lewis had to back out of Albon pushing Lewis.

"So in my opinion, [the penalty] not justified.

"But I recognise the complexity of the job, of coming up with the right decisions. Some go for you, some go against you."

Albon reckoned that the clash with Hamilton cost him a shot at his maiden F1 race win, and Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Hamilton was "clearly" to blame for the incident, which came after Hamilton was also handed a five-second penalty for punting Albon into a spin at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix.

"At the re-start Alex passed Lewis and inexplicably for the second time in three races Lewis has hit him and taken him out of the race," said Horner.

"It was clearly a mis-judgement by Lewis which he received a penalty for but that still cuts deep for Alex.

"We then had to retire the car with what looks like a PU issue, which will now be investigated.

"It's hugely frustrating to come away from this race with a double DNF and no points, when we could have been in a position to win.

"The positives are that we looked to be having a competitive race but we still have a bit of pace to find ahead of next weekend."

Hamilton also received two penalty points for the collision to compound a bad day for the reigning world champion.

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