Tension Building At Mercedes After Monaco Missteps

2024 Monaco Grand Prix, Saturday - Lewis Hamilton
2024 Monaco Grand Prix, Saturday - Lewis Hamilton

As Lewis Hamilton‘s claims in Monaco take on a new twist, team boss Toto Wolff says it’s natural for the Ferrari-bound driver to feel “sceptical” about his current situation at Mercedes.

Hamilton, 39, raised eyebrows in Monaco when he said his car “automatically” loses two tenths to teammate George Russell heading into qualifying.

“I don’t anticipate being ahead of George this year in qualifying,” he said.

Auto Motor und Sport thinks Hamilton is in “a bit of a crisis” in his final year at Mercedes – with Russell ahead 7-1 in the qualifying duel and 12 points ahead in the drivers’ standings.

The British driver suggested some of his deficit in Monaco is because Russell was given the only version of a new-specification front wing. “I hope I get the wing in Montreal,” Hamilton said last weekend.

Russell, however, told Channel 4 that Hamilton actually turned down the opportunity to use the sole new wing last weekend.

“It was agreed that we’d do a coin toss and see who got it,” he said. “Lewis said he’d tried it on the sim and was happy for me to use it this weekend, because it doesn’t go without risk.

“If we made a mistake in qualifying and damaged it, obviously that’s one front wing that we won’t ever be able to use again and you’d have to start from pitlane. I was happy to take that risk and I thought it was a belated birthday present he gave me,” Russell smiled.

Wolff played down the significance of Hamilton’s results deficit to his teammate so far in 2024.

“It’s just statistics,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “There is no particular reason for it.”

Wolff admits, however, that managing the final season of Mercedes’ long and successful collaboration with Hamilton is tricky at times.

“We are trying to make the most of the relationship and maximise results in this final season together,” he is quoted as saying by formel1.de. “Of course, relationships between drivers can sometimes be tense because everyone wants to do their best.”

As for any suggestion that Hamilton suspects he is being disadvantaged, the Austrian told F1’s official website: “All drivers are a bit sceptical at times.

“I can understand as a driver, you want the best out of yourself and the team, and sometimes when it’s going against you, you can question it. But I think as a team, we’ve demonstrated that even in the most tense competitions between teammates, we are trying to always balance it right and be transparent and fair.

“As a team we are 100 percent on a mission of giving the two drivers two great cars, the best possible cars, and the best possible strategies and support.”

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