Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team swapped the running order of its drivers in the Miami Grand Prix because it was told to by the FIA.George Russell passed Lewis Hamilton for fifth place on lap 50 as the pair ran through turns 11 and 12.
However Russell put all four wheels off the track at one point as he did so. He later slowed and allowed Hamilton to re-pass him. Russell then passed his team mate a second time and went on to finish the race in fifth position.
Communications between the race director and teams became a point of contention last season. Wolff stated they did not discuss the incident with race control, but were given an instruction what to do.
“There was no dialogue with the FIA and I think that’s how it should be,” said Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans. “It’s the FIA coming back to us and saying ‘they need to change position’.”
Shortly after the move Russell’s race engineer Riccardo Musconi told him on his radio: “We need to give the place back to Lewis because we went off-track when you overtook. The earlier you give the place back the more chance you have to attack.”
After letting Hamilton by into turn one, Russell was told “you are free to attack now.” He re-passed Hamilton again at turn 11.
Russell said his brief scrap with his team mate had been “nice” and respectful.
“Obviously you’ve got to leave a bit more room when you’re battling with your team mate then you would do ordinarily,” he said. “That’s [a] corner where you can’t really judge where the edge of the track is – it’s just a white line.
“When they told me we had to swap positions, that is a little bit frustrating because I was catching the guys ahead at one point. But fortunately we all came home in one piece.”
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18 comments on “FIA told Mercedes to move Hamilton back in front of Russell – Wolff”
9th May 2022, 1:55
Wait, I thought it was up to the teams this season to decide to give the place back, and the FIA would either rule penalty or no penalty.
9th May 2022, 2:44
Good point. I’d forgotten about that.
I think Mercedes was daft not to just wave GR through straight away though, given the strategy differences (despite the fact that I am a LH fan).
9th May 2022, 2:50
The FIA remind me of myself and my kids… oh, I forgot there was a punishment for that… ah whatever just don’t do it again.
David BR (@david-br)
9th May 2022, 3:41
I’d presumed the decision came from Mercedes for that reason.
9th May 2022, 7:41
I’m flattered Dave but I’m pretty sure Merc don’t even know who I am.
9th May 2022, 7:44
9th May 2022, 11:45
Shhh. Wolf was hoping GR didn’t remember that.
9th May 2022, 5:49
Yeah no they didnt. The FIA changed their procedures this year specifically to not direct teams whether to give up places or not. The FIA now leaves it up to the team to decide if an advantage was gained, they review it, and if an advantage was gained without giving it back a penalty is given. Hamilton basically ran Russell off the track who still made the overtake stick and Mercedes obviously still tried to get Hamilton in front of him.
9th May 2022, 7:12
Well, someone involved just told some facts, but you ofc know better.
9th May 2022, 21:58
Oh, so you work in Race Control?
Good to know.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
9th May 2022, 8:06
This was the correct decision. If teams want to orchestrate an overtake then they need to do it within the rules. If the FIA had ignored it then it gives other teams the grounds to complain.
9th May 2022, 8:40
I’m surprised nothing got noted at the time.
He only passed slightly later, i.e., stayed behind the whole time he was off, but I immediately thought whether his brief off-track excursion at the T11 exit-12 runoff piece might’ve helped him gain a speed advantage into 13 & got him ahead eventually. Ultimately this indeed was the case.
9th May 2022, 14:23
Hamilton went wide of the next apex to avoid Russell hitting him or hitting the wall if he kept his foot in it and that allowed Russell by in the next corner. Magnussen tried that off track move there earlier and had to back out to avoid the wall. Hamilton was rather kind to Russell there, as one would expect of teammates.
9th May 2022, 8:59
Get in there Lewis.
P6 and behind George again 👍
10th May 2022, 6:24
You don’t understand how Russell was handed another olive basket despite not being faster on track . It’s shocking that some fans don’t seem to understand this notion .
9th May 2022, 10:45
Actually, this one was not worth fighting. Once again, LH drew the short straw and missed the ‘free’ pit stop when the SC came out. Fighting your team mate who has newer tyres is like turning up to the fight with a feather, while the other guy has an Exocet! But then again, why should LH make it easy for GR. You have to earn the overtake. I suspect the tide will turn at some point and LH will be able to put up a better fight. Jury is still out, as far as I am concerned.
9th May 2022, 15:55
Well, they both have the same equipment, so… if LH is not as good as GR at the moment it’s totally on him. I believe that since the Mercedes is not the best car as of right now, GR is able to better cope with its shortcomings being more accustomed to driving a bad car (his experience at Williams). Also, I think that if Lewis didn’t put that much of a fight is because he knew that George would pass him at one point and didn’t want to risk an accident.
13th May 2022, 21:22
Carlos, listen to few people in Mercedes talking about the weekends.
The two cars are often different set ups as decided through FP by the engineering team and drivers.
But also this year they’ve had very different wings/floors etc. Sometimes only one set available.
So same equipment? afraid not! Then also, who chooses initial tyre strategy and changes through the race?
Comments are closed.