Toto Wolff: “An accident involves two drivers”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff deems the crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to be a racing incident, and says “it takes two to tango”.

Although Lewis Hamilton received a 10-second penalty for the incident, Toto Wolff believes neither driver was at fault.

“I think first of all we’ve seen a dramatic and exciting race today, with Lewis winning the British Grand Prix again, and catching Charles at the end, so I think that was something for everybody,” said the Austrian after the race.

“As for the incident, it always takes two to tango, and these two are not giving each other an inch.

“It’s a high-speed corner… These things are nasty to look at, but there is a clear regulation and that is something that is black and white on paper and as a racing driver, you may have different perspective from the car, but you need to exactly understand that if the front axle is over the middle of the car on the outside, it’s your corner.

“Now you can say, is that a corner that is equivalent to any other? Maybe not. But again, an accident involves two drivers.

“At the end they were racing each other hard. During the race we saw overtaking there, Charles and Lewis was another example, and I think you just need to give each other [room]. That would have been my opinion.

“It was hard racing, and hard racing sometimes, if none of them gives in, ends in collisions. The most important is that [Max] is fine as it looks and the rest of the race was great…

“[But] you look at the first lap and you knew that something was coming here.

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The Hamilton/Verstappen title rivalry has been compared to that between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The two drivers, who were both driving for McLaren at the time of their most infamous clashes, have taken each other out of the race on multiple occasions.

Toto Wolff says he is ready for such a rivalry.

“Yeah. I am ready. Let’s go for this. This championship was always very intense because we are fighting with everything we have in order to hold on to it whilst knowing that we are not performing as well as Red Bull and Honda.

“Therefore, we have had big points losses in the past and here we scored big points so that is always balancing itself out.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner was very opinionated after the race and said Lewis was “desperate” and “dangerous”. Wolff wasn’t overly concerned about his rival’s comments.

“Everybody has an opinion and that is okay. Of course, everybody, every team, will have a certain bias towards incidents like that.”

After the incident Horner immediately contacted race director Michael Masi, to lobby for a harsh penalty for Hamilton.

Wolff says he also sent an e-mail to Masi, highlighting the rules, but when Masi said he didn’t have time to open it, the Austrian contacted the stewards.

“I was told that there was a rant on the radio about all the badness in the world, then I went up and gave my opinion. I think it is fair enough.

“I have been to the stewards many times in my life,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.

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