Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has admitted being “angry and upset” over the Spanish Grand Prix collision, but is confident of handling the latest fallout between his Formula 1 drivers.
The first-lap crash that accounted for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Barcelona is the most high-profile incident Wolff and his team have had to deal with since the duo were paired in 2013. Although there had been a period of relative stability following the tangle at the Belgian GP in 2014, the fractious relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg is now back in the spotlight.
Assessing the damage-limitation measures needed to be put in place, Wolff said: “I think what matters more is how we come out of the incident as a team.
“We’ve had a really great spirit in the team in the last couple of races through many ups and downs, and we’ve never thrown the toys out of the pram.
“I think this time is another challenge for us in order to demonstrate that as a team we can move on from difficult circumstances.”
The incident resulted in a battle for victory between Red Bull and Ferrari, with Max Verstappen going on to become the youngest driver in F1 history to win a race just 10 days after his promotion from Toro Rosso to the senior team.
Wolff recognizes Mercedes played a very significant role in helping the 18-year-old claim his moment in the spotlight, as well as allowing second-placed Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari close the gap in the title race. While acknowledging Verstappen’s feat, Wolff was naturally unhappy at seeing his team’s advantage over Ferrari slip.
“Seeing Max as the youngest ever up there is great for him and it’s great for the sport,” said Wolff. “He’s a driver that deserves it and at least we have provided some narrative for the race weekend – we lost both Mercedes on lap one, it was an exciting race and a new star was born.
“But, Ferrari scored a lot of points and caught up. All that makes me go away angry and upset – but isn’t that what racing should be all about?”