During the Austrian GP, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff responded strongly to Lewis Hamilton’s continuous complaints about the 2023 Mercedes car, which has been a recurring issue for the past two years. Hamilton voiced multiple grievances over the team radio, particularly regarding other drivers exceeding track limits. However, Hamilton himself exceeded the limits over 12 times and received penalties. Expressing frustration, Hamilton also complained about the difficulty of keeping the car within the white lines. In response to Hamilton, Toto Wolff intervened, telling him, “We know the car is bad… Please drive it.”
After the race, Wolff explained to Sky Sports that he wanted to ensure they were maximizing the car’s potential, despite its shortcomings. Toto Wolff aimed to keep Hamilton focused until the end of the race, hinting at potential weariness with the British champion’s attitude. Later, Wolff clarified that his intention was to act in the best interest of the drivers and the team.
Toto Wolff and Hamilton: Disappointment with Performance in the Austrian GP
Regarding the issue of track limits, Wolff acknowledged the stewards’ enforcement of the rules but suggested solutions for the future, such as using raised fibre strips (sausage curbs) in run-offs. He emphasized that teams and drivers should not complain if their cars suffer damage due to the stricter track limits.
Apart from the track limits and radio messages, Wolff admitted that Mercedes’ performance in the race was below expectations, with George Russell finishing seventh and Hamilton eighth after penalties were applied. Wolff expressed disappointment with the car’s lack of pace and the team’s inability to identify the underlying issues. Mercedes currently sits second in the Constructors’ standings, only three points ahead of their engine supplier, Aston Martin, who achieved fifth and ninth-place finishes with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in Austria.