Wolff denied that Mercedes favors Russell

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says that the team does not favor George Russell over Lewis Hamilton, although during the last weekend in Monaco there were two situations in which one could sense otherwise.

During the weekend in Monaco, two situations occurred that made many wonder if Russell is favored over Hamilton, who is leaving for Ferrari at the end of the year – the first is the fact that the new front wing was only available to Russell, and the second is the failure to give him vital information during the race.
After the race was stopped due to the red flag, Hamilton was irritated because he started the race on hard tires, which meant that he had to drive almost the entire race on medium, so he told the team on the radio, “I told you so.”

Hamilton pitted on lap 51 when he built up enough of a lead over Tsunoda, but the team didn’t tell him to press on to possibly overtake Verstappen. Consequently, when the Red Bull driver returned from the pits a lap later, he returned still ahead of the Mercedes.

“Why didn’t you tell me the output circuit was critical?” Hamilton asked in the radio communication.

“It was first a miscommunication between us in the pits, we misunderstood each other,” Wolff said after the race.
“But then there was a debate as to whether any output round would be enough so the message he got was confusing at best but probably wrong,” he added.

“It should have been ‘the exit lap is critical’, and the concern in the background was that if we press that tire in one lap, what will happen later? But in short, the wrong message to Lewis, this was a team mistake.”

“We wanted to be close to Verstappen and then make an undercut. Which is now obvious that we got the message completely wrong.”

It was revealed on Saturday that the new front wing was only made available to Russell, although Hamilton was in the top three in all three practice sessions.

Ahead of Saturday’s qualifying, Hamilton said he would be behind Russell.

“I already know automatically that I will lose two tenths going into qualifying,” he told Sky Sports.

“I don’t expect to be ahead of George in qualifying.”

When asked to explain, he only said: “We’ll see.”

“Aren’t all drivers a little skeptical sometimes?” Wolff said, when asked about Hamilton’s cryptic comment.

“I think we’ve shown as a team even in the most tense competitions between colleagues that we always try to balance things and be transparent and fair.”

“I don’t think there was a single moment apart from Abu Dhabi in 2016 when we tried to manage these areas,” he added, referring to the call for Hamilton to stop holding back his then team-mate Rosberg.

“We haven’t done it since then, but I can understand that as a driver you want the best for yourself and the team. Sometimes when things go against you, you can question things.”

“As a team, we’re 100% on a mission to give the two drivers two great cars, the best possible cars and the best possible strategies and support. “We’re trying to get the best out of our relationship, trying to maximize results for the final season,” he said of Hamilton.

“You know, always between the driver and the team it can be tense sometimes because everyone wants to do their best.”