Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2021

“A win is a win” says Wolff as Mercedes halt Red Bull’s victory run

2021 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff defended Lewis Hamilton following his collision with Max Verstappen and subsequent victory in the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton took Mercedes’s first victory in six races at the British Grand Prix, ending Red Bull’s string of successes. He and the team gained significant ground to their rivals in both championships.

The stewards handed Hamilton a 10-second time penalty following the incident. However he was still able to catch and pass Charles Leclerc to take the team’s first win since the Spanish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas finished third after allowing Hamilton past to chase the leading Ferrari in the closing laps.

“A win is a win and a third is a third and we scored big points today and that’s it,” said Wolff of the team’s result. “We put it on the scorecard and move on to the next one.

“It was always very intense because we are fighting with everything we have in order to hold on to this championship whilst knowing that we are not performing as [well as] Red Bull and Honda. Therefore we’ve had big points losses in the past, and today we scored big points. So that is always balancing itself out.”

Despite Hamilton being deemed at fault for the collision by the stewards, Wolff believes the controversy over the accident is based more on the speed of Verstappen’s crash than the nature of his driver’s infringement:

“I think that if that would have been a low or mid-speed corner, then it wouldn’t have been a big debate, obviously, or what the consequence of that [whether] a five or 10-second penalty,” said Wolff. “But it was a high-speed impact.

“It is a corner that takes lots of guts to even take flat alone. And when two cars are trying to drive through it they need to leave each other space in order to make it through the corner. And that wasn’t the case and the stewards deemed 10 seconds as appropriate, I guess because both drivers were part of the accident, not one alone, it’s always much more nuanced.”

Wolff defended his driver against criticism from Verstappen and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. The latter accused Hamilton of “dirty driving” and questioned how he could take any satisfaction from the win.

“Everybody has an opinion and that’s okay,” said Wolff. “Of course, every team will have a certain bias towards incidents like that.

“When you hear the comments about his driving and the incident, Lewis is the contrary of someone that ever drives dirty. I think he’s a sportsman.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 British Grand Prix articles

59 comments on ““A win is a win” says Wolff as Mercedes halt Red Bull’s victory run”

  1. Glorified Paddy Lowe defending Lewhine CHeatlton makes sense
    They both lucked into a Championship team assembled by Ross Brawn with guaranteed success
    Makes sense Wolf crier is out of his depth this season, like the British Rosberg

    1. Sensible, unbiased comments like yours are always appreciated. Thank you.

  2. And he’s right, a win is a win and they should celebrate that.

    To give you some context: I sat down to watch the race yesterday hoping for a Verstappen victory. Like many F1 fans, Mercedes’ dominance in recent years has been an issue for me and has detracted from the sport. Seeing Max in a car that allows him to fulfill his potential has been a breath of fresh air this season.

    I was in Barcelona for Max’s first win. After the race I turned to my kids and said to them: “You’ve just witnessed something very important. The first win from a driver who is going to go on and be a world champion.”

    What I didn’t say to them was that he and Red Bull shouldn’t have celebrated so wildly as he only won because Hamilton and Rosberg crashed into each other. That is, after all, the only reason he won that day.

    Let Lewis and Mercedes enjoy their day. Otherwise, what is the point of competing in top level sport if you can’t enjoy the victories?

    Max and Red Bull need to suck it up and mentally focus on Hungary, putting emotions to one side. They appear to have the better car and, in Max, a driver who is at least a match for Lewis Hamilton. He drives for a team which inherently seems to look for someone or something to blame when things don’t go perfectly. Max needs to be his own man and rise above that.

    1. @lyingcrockett
      I smell a liar: you fit the Mercedes mold perfectly.

      1. There’s no need for that kind of talk.

        I’m a McLaren fan but I’ve always liked Verstappen and I watched the race yesterday wearing an orange 33 t-shirt.

        You can think what you want. Your comments say more about you than they do about me.

      2. It’s really quite sad how VER fans react with blanket statements and generalisations.

        You lost, move on.

      3. How many targets have you name-called in total?

    2. Finally some balance! I am a Hamilton fan (not fanboy…) and I think he was more to blame for what happened, however both could have given a little more and made it through without the terrifying crash for Verstappen. But this is what happens if you have two world class drivers fighting for one of the few multi-team championship battles in the hybrid era – neither want to give up, and to be honest if one of them had backed out they would have been criticised for giving up!

      Verstappen is well known for being very aggressive in his defending – not as bad as he was a few years ago, but in a similar vein to Senna he does seem to go for an “I’m driving my line into this corner and it’s up to you whether we crash of not”. Hamiltonand others have allowed this to happen previously (see Spain, Imola and Verstappen/Leclerc in Austria a few years ago) so this was bound to happen eventually.

      Anyway just my 2 cents, glad Max is OK and I’m sure we’ll have some more incidents this season from both sides but hopefully more good racing than incidents!

    3. I hope your children are now wise enough to explain the difference between Barcelona 2016 (team mates taking each other out, handing an opportunity to RedBull) and Silverstone yesterday (winning whilst the stewards blamed you for being predominantly responsible for taking your opponent out).

      1. The stewards gave the second most lenient penalty available to them.

        1. or was it the fourth most severe, plus just one short of the maximum penalty points ;)

    4. @Sonny Crockett Sorry but those situations are hardly synonymous. In Spain 2016 two cars from the same team took each other out, but both drivers were clearly unhurt as there was no high G impact. Also whoever was to blame, both drivers were out of the race and so suffered ‘equally’.

      Yesterday two championship rivals from different teams collided at high speed, resulting in one car going into the barriers at high speed and having the biggest impact of his career, ending in a trip to hospital, while the one deemed by the stewards to have caused the incident went on to win the race.

      In Spain, Max had no reason not to celebrate because he was not involved in the incident and clearly there were no injured drivers, so there was nothing to sully any celebrations. Yesterday the driver who won was involved in the incident and the ‘victim’ was still being checked out for concussion and the like. That’s why people would have liked to see some contrition or at least acknowledgement of his part in the incident rather than full-on celebrations like nothing had happened and an overall defensive outlook regarding his part in it.

    5. Great comment @sonnycrockett.

      I think it ended up giving us a really interesting race where Hamilton really did have to do the work to earn that victory. A bit of a shame for Leclerc, with his engine cutting out a few times, that might have given Hamilton and Mercedes the smell of blood they needed to do it.

      And it is great for the championship to see the team and driver (slightly) on the back foot getting back into range. Also, the risk of Verstappen maybe having to consider taking a penalty for a new engine etc later in the year to offset their better car, and the heightened rivalry we might be seeing in the coming races all set us up nicely for a season that will be one to remember!

    6. Well said sir.

    7. @sonnycrockettLet Lewis and Mercedes enjoy their day. Otherwise, what is the point of competing in top level sport if you can’t enjoy the victories?

      True? On any day you don’t crash your opponent into the hospital!!

      I had a lot of respect for the Mercedes team, Toto and Hamilton. But after what happened yesterday, that should still be intact. It was a racing accident where Lewis made a big mistake.

      But the reactions of Lewis and Toto afterwards are digusting and for me they are now at the bottom of the respect list….

      1. But the reactions of Lewis and Toto afterwards are digusting …

        Oh yes. So much more disgusting that posting comments suggesting one driver “crashed another into hospital”. I just do not get these comments. we ALL KNOW he went to hospital but unless you can confirm that you read Hamilton’s mind and intent stop guilt tripping other commenters.

        F1 is a dangerous sport. None of us wants to see anyone be seriously – or indeed superficially – hurt. None of us know the exact level of information other drivers had at any given time so why do we have to assume the worst. For all we know they were aware that the injuries were likely not severe by that stage. Whilst I do not suggest that my own criteria should be that which other live by, I would nonetheless agree, if they believed Max was in a critical situation, then of course show appropriate respect. Otherwise, do the job that they are paid millions to do, and that hundreds of thousands of people turned up and tuned in for i.e. put on a decent show.

        I cant say that I have ever visited a boxing forum – and personally I do not support professional boxing as a sport – but I wonder whether there are constant comments with regard the victors celebrating after knocking their opponents senseless. And please, before there are suggestions that the sports are entirely different – which of course they are – do you really think that those differences warrant different levels of concern for another persons health?

  3. A win is a win, but a third is a poorly performing driver who should have been able to easily win when one of the two best drivers is out of the race, and the other has a penalty.

    The Ham / Ver incident will cause many things from this weekend to be missed or quickly forgotten.

    1. Very true.

    2. The problem is that the heir apparent is not fast enough out of the blocks.
      I believe he lost places on all 3 starts.

      1. yeah because another crash is gonna happen betweem them

    3. I doubt Bottas would have been allowed to win that race even if he was in a commanding lead yesterday @eurobrun.

  4. I think I have never ever in any sport seen such a sour team as Mercedes. They are disgraceful in defeat and a perfect example of bad sportsmanship. They truly are not fitting for F1. How they managed to get themselves into the dark side position is stunning and could have easily been avoided. Rarely you see a team fall this hard and this deep. Such a waste. All their achievements hollowed out and Lewis will go down history as also breaking Schumachers record on bad sportmanship and borderline behavior. What an end to something that could have been such a nice Mercedes story. I am so glad we’ll not be seeing Lewis around anymore soon. Take your place in history and pray it will never be repeated.

    1. Talk about an overreaction. I think you need to chill out.

    2. You know what? I’m glad hamilton renewed his contract, he’s in decline and while I’ve never been anti-hamilton, he seems to have become more unsportsmanlike lately (not sure about the saying in english, but if you live with liars, you learn to lie etc., with people like toto wolff around for years and the general mercedes culture), at this point I might become fully anti-hamilton as well, I was already anti-mercedes, so what I’m saying is it could be a positive he renewed, who says next merc is gonna be dominant? If by any chance red bull, ferrari and mclaren are even I count on norris, leclerc and verstappen to beat hamilton, so I’m basically just waiting for his loss now, his and mercedes, I don’t care who wins, although realistically only verstappen and red bull can do anything this year.

      1. He’s always been this way, ask Rosberg. He just rarely needed to show it with a car my grandmother would have racked up WDCs with too

  5. Lol, is Wolff fishing for a higher bill for security during the Belgian amd Dutch GPs?

  6. “Lewis is the contrary of someone that ever drives dirty. I think he’s a sportsman.”

    Of course he’d say that, but Hamilton has been involved in collisions with pretty much all his title rivals. From Räikkönen and Massa in 2007 and 2008, to Rosberg in 2014-2016, Vettel in 2017-2018, and now Verstappen.

    1. Philip Taylor
      19th July 2021, 12:38

      All drivers crash – its in the nature of the sport. Drivers also tend to crash into the people they’re racing with, so if you’re fighting for a title, you’ll crash into your title rivals. I don’t need to repeat Senna’s famous line, but if you’re a long-term viewer of F1 you will already know it is true.

    2. As have Senna, Prost, Schumacher, etc.
      Verstappen is not really exempt of dirty moves and closed doors either.

      TBH having watched F1 for more than 40 years now, I find Hamilton in the clean side of WDCs.

      Given the level of competition in F1, to win a WDC you have to be on the edge of agressive vs dirty.

      1. Perfectly said sir

      2. @ldom I find Hamilton in the clean side of WDCs.

        That’s why yeasterday was such a shock.

        Is this a one time incident that crept up after losing 5 races in a row in front of the first big and british crowd in 1,5 years?

        Or are we seeing a dark side of Lewis he never had to show before as he never was under any presure (bar Rosberg)?

        His response afterwards gives me an uneasy feeling we’re looking at the second option…

        1. Exactly. Since Mansell there hasnt been a real UK champ anymore on merit. Hill won because of the active suspension thing. Button because of the diffuser thing and Lewis also because of the 8 year unprecedented domination streak of Mercedes. Oh, I forgot 2008. There goes my story. Ok, Lewis is the king.

      3. @ldom There have been plenty of champions who do not have a record of crashing into or with their competitors. It’s true that Hamilton, Schumacher and Senna are not on that list.

  7. Some of the comments about Hamilton are crazy. You’d think he’d just killed a puppy or something. I think some people just feed off controversy. Everyone will have forgotten about this in a month.

  8. On Lap 16 of the race Pete Bonnington was telling Lewis there was a problem with Charles’s car and the team was happy for Lewis to pick up the pace, so Lewis responded by asking “What menu?”. So he was told “Menu Dash Position 5…Position 5”. Does anyone know what that message meant?

    1. Guessing: I think the message wasn’t played entirely on the world feed, and Hamilton might’ve asked something before asking for the correct menu for the situation. Perhaps he wanted to see the gap/delta to Leclerc instead of something else the steering wheel display was shoving.

      Looking at various images I can find of the current steering wheel, the Menu rotary position 5 is labelled as “Radio”. Doesn’t really help.

      1. @kaiie
        Maybe he was asking for the correct engine map to deploy to attack Leclerc’s faulty Ferrari. Mercedes do have an engine mode called “Strat 5 Race Plus Deploy SOC (0.04)”. Just guessing too.

        1. Anon A. Mouse
          20th July 2021, 20:28

          @tifoso1989 Strat modes are (at least as far as I can tell from a few years of watching on boards) exclusively on the leftmost rotary. Dash is on the middle rotary with several other functions. I think that Dash settings change the time delta on the steering wheel so that there’s a target time the drivers can drive to. Most deployment changes tend to be Strat, or HPP, but after they changed the rules around engine mode changes during the race, I haven’t figured out the rest of the settings.

          Anyone who has F1 TV Pro can go back and watch Bahrain when Russell filled in for Hamilton – during one of the practice sessions Bono walked him through a few changes to get the SC and VSC screens to appear. Any night race is a good time to watch the onboards since you can clearly see the display.

  9. Ohh, interesting, this is from february 2020, I wonder now, seems mercedes have become more criticized by other people too:

    Which Formula 1 Team you dislike the most?
    24.58% (1691 votes)Mercedes
    23.61% (1624 votes)Racing Point
    17.10% (1176 votes)Ferrari
    14.36% (988 votes)Renault
    8.43% (580 votes)Haas
    6.08% (418 votes)RedBull
    3.18% (219 votes)Williams
    1.02% (70 votes)Alpha Tauri
    0.84% (58 votes)Alfa Romeo
    0.80% (55 votes)McLaren
    Total votes: 6879

    1. It’s natural to dislike the team that has won every Championship in the turbo hybrid era.

      Red Bull were equally unpopular under the previous regulations.

  10. Fernando Alonso:

    “It is difficult from the outside,” said the Alpine charger. “It looked quite close, Lewis had more than half a car alongside Max.

    “So, in a way, Lewis could not disappear from the inside line, it’s not that you can vanish.

    “It was an unfortunate moment of the race, but nothing intentional or nothing that any of the two drivers did wrong in my opinion. That was an unlucky moment.”

    1. Yep, same as Karun Chandock said on the Sky pad, a racing incident. Both drivers could have changed the outcome but both were racing each other very hard and expected the other to move. I find it ludicrous seeing people on here try and make out Hamilton is solely responsible and made a wildly illegal move.. it was a racing incident!!

  11. Imagine this stuff was coming from Ferrari. Leclerc takes Hamilton to the hospital on his way to win the Italian GP and celebrates with the best crowd and Binotto is bragging about it after the race.

    1. Armageddon, was installed….

      1. +1 Exactly :)

    2. But the scenario depends entirely on what actually happens in the “taking out” part. Most current and ex-F1 drivers, having reviewed the incident, said it was a racing incident. A few put a little more blame on Hamilton than Verstappen, but even so said it was a racing incident.

      Given that context, it would be odd to expect the driver who won to not celebrate, unless any of the following were true:

      1.) The move was a deliberate attempt to take the other driver out – zero evidence of this
      2.) The move was an outrageous error in judgement far below the standard of F1 – current drivers say not the case
      3.) The driver who crashed was seriously injured or killed – Hamilton was told Max was ok during the race

      Max went for precautionary checks at a hospital because you can’t take anything for granted after a 50G+ crash. But Red Bull had made clear well before the end of the race he was ok, so using the “he put me in hospital, he shouldn’t celebrate” line is quite manipulative in its own right.

      For the record, the one thing I do think Hamilton should have done in the public post-race interview is say he’s glad Max is ok. That was an error and made him look a bit heartless in the moment. Everything else he said was simply his own perspective during an ultra-close championship battle where neither contender wants to give an inch.

    3. But LeClerc is not a driver that has a get out of the way or we will crash mentality, nor has a fool of a TP who giggles remarks about get out the way or end up in the fence. That’s the problem with those who like to bully, they are at a loss when someone strikes back.

  12. I am sure this win did many good for the Mercedes brand Toto. Values as integrity and fair play were all thrown under the bus, but hey who cares. You are not a low wage co worker in some Mercedes factory nor the CEO of Daimler Benz. Just focus on making your own objectives without looking at the bigger picture

  13. petebaldwin (@)
    19th July 2021, 12:23

    A win is a win but when you couldn’t beat Red Bull on merit on your strongest track, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season.

    1. Oh, poppycock.

    2. That thought occured to me too. We just saw (allegedly) Merc’s last meaningful upgrades, on a theoretically favourable track, and:
      – merc got the part1 pole, but only with slipstreaming tactics, and with RB struggling with their setup
      – RB took the first race comfortably
      – Merc took the 2nd race, but only with Max out and Perez already having consigned himself to the back.

      Feels like we’ll be back to comfortable RB wins once the dust has settled.

  14. Of note.
    This level of hatred, spite, nastiness, visciousness, pure evil from more than 1 person on this wonderful site.
    Was never in evidence when?
    RBR’s illegal front wing dominated F1 for a few years.
    Ferrari’s illegal fuel boosting went on for some years.
    NOW? Mercedes are evil. Lewis Hamilton is the AntiChrist & or the Devil incarnate.

    Get over yourselves. Realise that your dreadful responses reflect on both your family upbringing & your severe lack of fair mindedness, bigotry & evil nastiness. Sport? Roman gladiators were gentlemen!

  15. I’ve petitioned the Pope for Max & Christian to be sainted!

    1. For a man with Horner’s family values it should be a slam-dunk! 😜

  16. Hamilton did not turn into verstappen he having a full tank maybe cold tyres understeered into verst. Verst if u watch his onboard turned right, straightened and then turned right again. Both could have done more to avoid the accident. It Was a racing Incident in my armchair Opinion. But because we have our favorites we will be biased.

  17. The pressure got to him after Verstappen overtook him and won on Saturday. He got desperate and tried an impossible overtake on the inside of one of the fastest corners left in F1. Pure luck he didn’t wreck his own car.
    The penalty sets a dangerous precedent, no deterrent if you are driving a by far the fastest car and have a lackey teammate not allowed to beat you.

    Verstappen could easily have missed the rest of the season with an injury.

    Doesn’t really change the outcome of the season as Verstappen is simply the faster driver in equal cars (I would add norris, leclerc).

    1. But he did the same thing to leclerc when he passed him… So the move is not impossible.

  18. From the movie Grand Prix

    Louise Frederickson:
    What a terrible way to win.

    Jean-Pierre Sarti:
    No, there is no terrible way to win. There is only winning.

Comments are closed.