Wolff defends Hamilton after FP3: "It's never the driver's fault'

F1 News

Toto Wolff thinks an accident is waiting to happen after Hamilton contact
22 June at 13:43
Last update 22 June at 13:43
  • Toby Nixon

Mercedes CEO and team boss Toto Wolff is concerned a big incident is inevitable this weekend after a chaotic ending to FP3. Lance Stroll appeared to drive into Lewis Hamilton, and Charles Leclerc also appeared to make intentional contact with Lando Norris after he was impeded by the McLaren driver. Speaking on Sky Sports after the session, the Austrian discussed the incident involving Hamilton's W15.

Wolff understood Stroll's frustration after he was impeded, but explained exactly why the incident wasn't Lewis Hamilton's fault. "I kind of understand in the heat of the moment, sometimes you're on your fast lap and you're being blocked. But it's never the driver's fault," said Wolff. "They’re getting the instructions from the garage about the traffic situation and nobody does it on purpose because you know you can get a penalty."

'There's no intention' to 'screw anybody's lap', says Wolff

Wolff also explained how drivers communicate with their engineers when they are on a cooldown lap. Even though radio communication is non-stop, there are still times when drivers are unable to move out of the way of others. "They get the warning. It's literally counting down the seconds. Ten seconds behind, five, four, three, and then they move over, but sometimes there's so much communication flying left, right and centre that an engineer might simply not see early enough or the driver might be on some switch changes, but I guess no one wants to screw anybody's lap. I'm amazed that we don’t have proper accidents in qualifying when everybody's flat out. Our engineers are constantly on the radio and saying be careful,"  explained the Mercedes team boss. "There’s no intention. I don’t want to [jinx] it but this is an accident waiting to happen." Concluded Wolff, who didn't appear to be angry with Stroll for the incident.

Hamilton and Stroll reported to the stewards at 14:00 local time. 

Watch the incident here: