Mercedes has no problems with “tough conversations on the radio”

© Paul Ripke for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff gave his comments on Lewis Hamilton’s radio back and forth with his race engineer at the Turkish Grand Prix.

At the Turkish Grand Prix Mercedes decided to call Lewis Hamilton in for a tyre change, eight laps before the end of the race. He was running in P3 at the time, and after he went out he was in P5.

The Briton already declined to go in a few laps earlier, because he thought he could finish the race on his original intermediate tyres, without a single pit stop.

“F***, man, why did you give up that space?” Lewis asked after he was informed that Gasly was closing in on him.

His race engineer Peter Bonnington responded: “It looked like we were going to lose position anyway”.

“What position am I in, man?” asked Hamilton, to which Bono replied: “Currently P5”.

This led to Hamilton angrily replying: “We shouldn’t have come in, man. We have got massive graining [on his fresh intermediate tyres]. I told you”.

“Copy, Lewis, we were losing time to Perez but we will chat about it later,” concluded Bono.


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After the race Toto Wolff said these types of conversations are not a problem for the team.

“I think we just really need to work on the communication to trust each other and in a way be able to describe what we are aiming for,” the Austrian said.

“We have no problem at all with tough conversations on the radio before you have complete information and obviously, we wouldn’t speak like this to Lewis because he is driving the car at 320kmph.

“But that is all okay, so absolutely we are totally aligned. We have been together for eight years and we have thick skin enough to understand that a driver in the car is just frustrated about a situation but he will understand afterwards.”

Wolff was then asked how the team could be more helpful toward the driver with the information given in the race.

“It’s very difficult because the communication needs to flow in both directions and that is crucial. The pilot is the vital sensor on track that will tell you about the grip levels.

“But the pilot doesn’t see himself relative to the other drivers and the other performances.

“So that information we need to work on because we’ve had what Lewis called a ‘genius stroke’ in terms of strategy last time around,” concluded Wolff.

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