Wolff: This was worse than Barcelona 2016


Looking at the various comments in the wake of yesterday's Austrian Grand Prix, someone unfamiliar with F1 might come to the conclusion that somebody had died, such was the level of shock, sadness and loss expressed by Lewis Hamilton and other members of the all-conquering Mercedes team.

Yet in many ways, this was a profound shock, almost like a death in the family, for the German team had suffered its first double DNF as a result of a mechanical issue since the birth of the hybrid era in 2014.

No longer was Lewis Hamilton's record of having completed every single racing lap of the season intact - while Vettel's remains - while the double DNF saw the German and Ferrari claim the lead in both championships.

The day after, and team boss Toto Wolff is still almost inconsolable.

"For me, this is the most painful day in my years at Mercedes, worse than Barcelona (2016)," he admits, referring to the infamous clash that saw Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg take one another out. "I had plenty of people coming to see me before the start and saying, 'This was going to be a walk in the park, one-two, you have the quickest car'.

"This is exactly how motor racing can go," he admits. "It can be very cruel and we had all the cruelty go against us.

"The most important thing is to understand why an error happens, go back to the situation and analyse it. Then, get our minds back to Silverstone and race as good as we can there.

"We all were in pain about the mistake that we made," he says. "James (Vowles) coming on to the radio is the mind-set that we are having.

"We are able to say that we have done a mistake in order to close the matter and also give Lewis piece of mind that there is complete acknowledgment within the team of what has gone wrong and that it was our mistake in order to make him park the thought.

"It was about extracting what was left in the performance - helping Lewis out of the mind loop of how this could possibly have happened. By admitting the mistake, it's easier to get out of that spiral.

"For me, James is one of the best ever. It needs guts to come out and, in order to save the best possible result, go out there in front of millions of people and say 'that was my mistake'."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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Published: 02/07/2018
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