Toto Wolff says 2021 Abu Dhabi was worse than the whole 2022 season

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff says the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was “much worse” than the whole 2022 season, because the 2021 title “was taken away by something” that was “not our wrongdoing”.

After a very disappointing 2022 season, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was asked which of the past two seasons was more painful – 2021 or 2022?

The Austrian said it was 2021, because of the way in which Lewis Hamilton was denied a rightful title win, due to the race director’s obvious disregards for the rules.

“Last year was much worse,” Wolff said.

“The situation and that one event [were] much worse than the whole season because last year it was taken away by something [that was] not our wrongdoing.

“Last year was strong, and how it ended, within a couple of seconds, we knew that that’s it. It’s out of control; out of your hands.

“And losing control, that was the first time since I was an adolescent. And, in my sense of fairness, that was totally against my values.

“This year we lost it on merit. We just weren’t good enough.”

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Toto then explains how it is much easier to accept Mercedes’ 2022 results, because they came about entirely due to Mercedes’ poor performance.

“This year was not as peaky, in terms of the emotions, because we knew from the get-go at the beginning that the car was just not good enough.

“I think we understood it slowly but surely. We would peel one layer of the onion off and you think you solved the problem, but then it is the next one and the next one.

“Then we started to correlate where this car, that was really not a good one, could perform. And we tried to concentrate on these tracks, knowing that the more difficult ones like Abu Dhabi were, in a way, damage limitation.

“So it was our doing. Last year Abu Dhabi wasn’t our doing. [This year] we knew we got it wrong. We’re conscious that others did a better job.

“And this is an absolute meritocracy, how this season ended up. So that is okay,” Wolff concluded.

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