Red Bull triggered social media reaction against Hamilton with criticism – Wolff

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff blamed Red Bull for triggering an “avalanche” of criticism of Lewis Hamilton on social media following the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton was also subjected to racial abuse on social media – which Mercedes, Red Bull and others swiftly condemned – following his collision with Max Verstappen at Silverstone.

Yesterday Mercedes issued a statement accusing Red Bull’s management of trying to “tarnish” Hamilton’s reputation. Wolff said the comments their rivals made had polarised fans.

“I think the comments that were made, surely out of emotion, were going directly against a seven-time world champion,” Wolff told Sky.

“Words like ‘amateurish” should have no place and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in the social media, a lot of controversy, added to further polarisation and I think we as a sport should do the contrary. We should de-escalate.”

Wolff also responded to Red Bull’s complaint that Hamilton was wrong to celebrate his victory after Verstappen was taken to hospital. The Mercedes boss said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had told him Verstappen was “unharmed” in the crash.

“You can only rely on the information that you have and the information we had at the time was, from Christian himself, that he was unharmed. [And] from another senior member of the Red Bull team that I asked, that he was okay and was doing fine.

“We also asked the media on the way to the podium whether he was okay and everybody said he’s fine.

“So we won the British Grand Prix after losing five races. It was Lewis’ home grand prix and that’s why the celebration was high.

“But again, it depends from the perspective you’re looking at. If the Verstappens are in hospital for precautionary checks and he didn’t feel well, then you’re seeing that in TV while you lost, also as a competitor you can have that perception and that needs to be respected.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Red Bull triggered social media reaction against Hamilton with criticism – Wolff”

  1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    30th July 2021, 12:21

    But no comment on Hamilton, a 7 time world champion with such a wonderful record getting a penalty for punting a competitor off the track and saying quite openly ‘he’d do it again’? Mercedes cool with their star driver, ruled predominantly to blame and thus the only one with a penalty – and 12 penalty points, saying he’s absolutely cool with sending a competitor into a tyre barrier and doesn’t care about the punishment? Pretty cool with looking at the wrecked Red Bull with its engine block exposed and thought ‘yes, this is good’? Get in the sea.

    1. @rocketpanda

      and saying quite openly ‘he’d do it again’

      I think your taking his words too literally & ignoring the actual meaning behind them.

      As I said yesterday I wouldn’t expect Lewis (Or Max for that matter) to say anything different because the second you say that you’ll back out sooner next time you have given your rival the psychological advantage of knowing that all they need to do is put you in a similar position & you’ll back out.

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        30th July 2021, 13:12

        Words have a lot of power, a lot more than people seem to think. If that isn’t what he means then he’s going to have to learn them because that comes across as arrogant, defiant and belligerent. It’s incredulous to be punished for a misdemeanour and then afterwards say with your whole chest you’re fine with doing it again? Equally from a safety perspective, seeing how that Red Bull was destroyed in a tyre barrier how can you champion ‘safe driving’ when you do that to someone and be absolutely fine with it?

        I’ll support Hamilton all day on his activism because the man knows how to use his platform and good for him, with him 100%, but his attitude, and Mercedes, in the wake of that crash has been disgusting.

        1. @Adam He said he will do it again because he knew it was a racing incident. There are always racing incidents on track and there is no reason to believe that there are no more racing incidents coming up.

          1. He did it multiple times. It’s called the Hamilton move.
            Albon knows how it works and without proper penalty he will do it again and again.

          2. But it wasn’t ruled to be a racing incident, it was ruled to be predominantly, for the most part, the Mercedes fault for causing a collision. That is why he got a 10 sec stop-go and 2 more penalty points.
            Should he do it again I am sure he’ll get at least the same penalty, if not slightly harsher.

        2. Looks Llke you don”t understand the Language. Given the same situation Lewis said he would do it again Meaning he would go on the inside . Same as the 2 overtakes he did in the race on the inside. If your interpretation is he would shunt MAx i am afraid you are mistaken.

        3. He’s a seven time world champion, IMO he can be all the arrogant, defiant and belligerent as he wants, this is racing, He’s simply stating that he’ll go for the gap again, and that’s just the reality of the situation, as a racing driver you have to go for the gap, just as Senna said.

    2. Hey, look!

      Wolff triggered social media reaction against Hamilton and Mercedes with criticism.

      What now?

    3. Lewis was saying that if he is side by side going into a corner and the guidance for overtaking says the corner is yours, as Horner made such a song and dance about when Max T-boned Lance in FP2 Portugal 2020, then he will do the same, if Max decides to turn in like he isn’t there then Max has learned nothing from this incident.

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        30th July 2021, 14:15

        Front left hitting rear right = side by side. Interesting perspective you got there. That’s some “Ericsson hit us!” level logic.

        1. Watch it again, Lewis is almost level when he brakes then turns, more than the half way deemed to be able to call the corner yours if you are on the inside.

      2. he is side by side going into a corner and the guidance for overtaking says the corner is yours,

        That is what I noticed, Lewis was not looking at max but at the guidance for overtaking document Mercedes created all on their own.


          I’ve noticed that the RB crowd are really hitting it hard with the Fake News diatribe….

          1. Your link, It is about what James Allison answered when asked. What do you expect Mercedes’ chief technical officer to say about it? Guaranteed it won’t be pointing a finger anywhere near Mercedes’ direction.

            I’m not a RB fan but I am an F1 fan. If I were to pick a driver, I’d say Norris.

            But last time I checked, Hamilton was penalized and handed 2 penalty points for your Fake News diatribe… that’s pretty real fake news!

          2. Did you actually read the article?

    4. 12 penalty points? Complete fabrication. Lewis has 4 penalty points.
      If he had 12 he would be banned for 1 race. You Max fans just chuck mud and see what sticks.

      1. So he can take out opponents at least 4 times this year.
        Nice work Lewis!
        (BTW the figure is about collecting points in two years, mostly with the infamous Hamilton move)

  2. I was thinking similarly for the last 2 weeks – Red Bull high profile members were constantly and intentionally bringing the sport into disrepute. It is unacceptable!

    1. True – as did Mercedes when they were insinuating that Red Bull had cheated by bring a performance upgrade to their engine and Lewis questioned if they had party mode.

      Both teams have behaved embarrassingly this year at times.

      The FIA need to start holding teams to account for this sort of stuff.

      1. The two are hardly comparable really.

        1. Michielhimself
          30th July 2021, 14:23

          You’re right.
          Calling FIA to get wing flexing measurements adjusted mid-season or pit-stop technical rules to be changed over the summer break, to disadvantage an opposing team is sneakyness of a whole higher order.

  3. Because others are incapable of making opinions otherwise ha Toto?

  4. I think this is harsh on everyone on social media. They’re perfectly capable to lose their minds on their own merit and they don’t need a Formula 1 team to do that for them.

    1. By the way, with ‘Red Bull’, does Toto mean ‘Red Bull Racing’ or the energy drink? If it’s the latter I’m supporting Toto’s statement for sure.

    2. Well, I agree that little excuse is needed on social media. However, sports teams and media outlets are completely embedded in social media and have to be responsible in how they interact with it. Horner stuck his ‘professional foul’ comment on Twitter: you think that wasn’t intended to generate a Twitter mob of sympathetic anger for RB and Max?

      1. I agree that sports teams have to be responsible, both towards the outside world, their sponsors and the sport. At the same time Christian Horner’s responsibility towards his team and his sponsors to win championships. If that includes unsettling the other team (to clarify: personally I think the limit with comments towards other competitors lies with whatever happens on track): so be it. Is it the most classy thing they can do? Probably not. Is it effective? Meh…
        So while I do think causing a stir might well be part of their communications strategy, I don’t think ‘generating a Twitter mob’ would be a specific sub-target for them. That said: they’re probably aware they’re adding fuel to fire, but there is so much fire on social media ‘all day every day’ that it’s hard no to. Besides that: Max himself had/has his fair share of social media comments even without fuel and it didn’t make him any slower.

        1. I’d say CH is ‘under caution’ with what unfolded after the incident. He’s justifying his remarks (and presumably Twitter comments etc.) with ’emotions in the heat of the moment’ argument, but at the same time, like you say, there’s a less emotional and more cynical angle to stirring up controversy around your main rival. So while I accept that everyone says stuff when drama occurs, and I appreciate how heavy Max’s crash was, there was already, clearly, an element of maximizing advantage. Over and above that, terms like ‘dirty driving’ and ‘professional foul’ were I think inexcusable. It’s his job as team manager to remain professional and handle pressure not succumb to it.

  5. Stupid me thought that Lewis causing a collision with Max which send him into the wall triggered the social media ‘avalanche’. Thanks for enlightening me, Mr Toto.

    1. @d0senbrot: everybody by now knows in Toto’s eyes Hamilton can’t do wrong. Not even hitting a switch in the car all by himself and throwing the race away was Lewis’s fault.. I guess Toto Wolff thinks Sir stands for Saint in Racecar. Maybe someone should explain to him it’s just an honorary title from a country to celebrate the achievements of someone born on their soil as if they were the reward for the whole country, nothing more.

  6. But again, it depends from the perspective you’re looking at. If the Verstappens are in hospital for precautionary checks and he didn’t feel well, then you’re seeing that in TV while you lost, also as a competitor you can have that perception and that needs to be respected

    Perceptive and empathic from Wolff. I agree, you tend to see this more in football, a team wins a cup, celebrates wildly while the rivals are slumped forlorn on the pitch – eventually some of the winning players go over to console rivals. In tennis it’s very common. It was bitter for Red Bull to see Hamilton do so well after an incident they blamed him for (naturally) and with a big shunt for Verstappen, 0 points to 25, and a huge celebration by Lewis in front of his home crowd, a packed circuit finally after all the lockdowns. But none of that was targetted at Max or Red Bull beyond the initial contact at Copse (which there is no point in debating any further). The rest was a racing team focused on winning a race they were still in – precisely as Red Bull would have done. Imagine if Max wins in Holland. Those emotions aren’t containable.

  7. Yep, Red Bull has really dragged F1 through the mud in the last two weeks.

  8. As for triggering racist abuse against Hamilton. Put it this way: there are parts of the UK media (and no doubt elsewhere) who manipulate this stuff all the time, against the footballers Sterling or Rashford say, or other black public figures, and it’s very deliberate, designed to generate animosity against them without being overtly racist. In some cases (Piers Morgan etc) they claim innocence despite always targetting the same profiles (in his case, young, female, black, the most recent of a long list being US gymnast Simone Biles). I don’t think Red Bull triggered a racist torrent against Hamilton on purpose. However overloaded terms, insinuations of illegality (professional foul etc) do ‘release’ those people ready all the time to hurl their stored up racist abuse. Why the latter need to do this is another question. But this is a case where Red Bull should indeed quietly reflect on the language they use to avoid a repeat.

    1. And with that RB sack a member of staff for racist texts.

      1. Really? Is there a link?

          1. Wow, at least they dealt with it, but you have to ask why this person felt it was safe to send such messages.

      2. And has nothing to do with the Silverstone Attack

    2. No @uzsjgb it’s saying that people of colour are put under more intense pressure, expected to behave ‘better’ and are more viciously condemned for any perceived lapse, which explains why black sportspeople come under more intense scrutiny in the media. You’re not going to get your racist ‘reverse racism’ nonsense working here.

      1. Yeah, I thought so. Your “nonsense” nicely proves my point.

        Don’t you think it is a bit absurd calling people racist for saying people should be treated equal regardless of their skin color?

  9. Came here to say Horner telling Toto and the FIA one thing, but saying the opposite elsewhere?
    But staying for the whataboutism.

  10. He didn’t need to go there. And bigots don’t need a reason to pop off. So this escalation perhaps was unnecessary. But then we don’t know what was in the letter that set him offf now. Has Dieter organized the dead-drop in a Budapest park to get the letter? We need to read that letter.

    1. Did anyone else get a mental picture of Dieter in dark glasses, Fedora, and trench coat with the collars up wandering around around a park..

  11. “Words like ‘amateurish” should have no place and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in the social media, a lot of controversy, added to further polarisation and I think we as a sport should do the contrary. We should de-escalate.”

    – Toto Wolff

    “Verstappen is overly agressieve.”

    – also Toto Wolff

    1. Indeed.

  12. I think there’s not much needed to make people go crazy on social media.

  13. Are we really surprised by Toto’s comments?

    Horner will walk to the ends of the earth to protect Max and has done so for every single incident and clash. Ofcourse we expect Toto to protect his driver, who has brought in more cash and attention to the Mercedes brand over anyone else.

    Its just the F1 Circus!

  14. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    30th July 2021, 13:27

    I already said this would be the outcome immediately after the race: Red Bull would get the blame for insane things said on social media and Mercedes/Hamilton would play the victim.

    They forgot that they themselves would then also be accountable for the insane pile of crep that Verstappen has gotten over him from British fans of Hamilton, following the quotes of Wolff, Hamilton and other top-figures from Mercedes. Hypocrites

    1. The problem is @barryfromdownunder, Red Bull had the opportunity for the moral high ground – instead they chose to make ridiculous claims and then a laughable penalty appeal getting Albon in the simulator! That kind of childish behaviour instead of behaving like men is part of the problem.

      Actually Verstappen is very well respected in the UK by the vast majority of fans here, myself included.

  15. You’re overreaching Toto. He just washed away any credit Mercedes got the last few days with this comment. Especially the polarisation and de-escalation part.

  16. He deserved all the criticism he faced

    1. Agree, him and mercedes.

    2. Lewis missed the apex by a full car width and hit Max. Then nearly did the same to Charles, but in that instance Lewis backed off to avoid the collision. Either way, Lewis caused the wreck at 180 mph and could have killed Max. Look at 50 mph crashes that regularly get more of a penalty. Lewis drove Nico off the track numerous times, a pattern I have seen for years. Once at Hungary in turn 2. Merc has been horrible in trying to beat Red Bull with finger pointing all year, now they realized they need points, and Lewis found a way to get them, wreck the points leader out of the race on 1st lap. Great for the fans outside of the UK, NOT. Lewis is a great driver, but he is the Lebron of Racing, all about him, trash the team on bad days, all great on winning days. As a fan for 40 years, I am seriously done with all the prima donna’s in sports. Leave politics at home.

  17. Excuse us Toto… We members of social media, have eyes, and we watched the race. Much like the stewards we concluded Hamilton was mostly to blame.

    Offcorse Horner heard the wind blow and sensng victory for his cause, he took it.

  18. He is right you know. How dare some one criticise Lewis!

  19. The ironic thing about social media is that it is making people less sociable.

    Iam with Elon Musk on this one, buying FB and then deleting it, along with the rest of the festering cess pits.

  20. “But again, it depends from the perspective you’re looking at. If the Verstappens are in hospital for precautionary checks and he didn’t feel well, then you’re seeing that in TV while you lost, also as a competitor you can have that perception and that needs to be respected.”

    This is the most important part: Wolff is trying to deescalate things here. I hope everybody move on from the incident and focuses on the next races.

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