Toto Wolff admits he “hated every bit” of the Mexican Grand Prix that saw Lewis Hamilton secure a fourth drivers’ championship.
Hamilton started from third place only needing a top-5 finish in Mexico but contact with Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap saw the championship leader suffer a puncture (pictured below) and drop to the back of the field. A strong recovery drive to ninth place was enough to secure the title as Vettel could only climb back to fourth place himself but Wolff says it was not an enjoyable race for Mercedes.
“I hated every bit of the race!” Wolff exclaimed. “As expected, Max [Verstappen] knew that there was a lot at stake for Sebastian and Lewis. Sebastian knew that the only chance he had was to win the race, and suddenly Lewis found himself in the middle of the pack and then with an opportunity to dive into the lead of the race.
“The consequence was the incident. My first thought at that stage was, ‘Keep calm, settle, understand the situation and then take it from there.’
“I need to look at it again. I think the situation, like I said before, was that suddenly Lewis found himself in a situation where he had the opportunity and Sebastian had a bit of a moment there and then crashed into Lewis and finished his race and finished Lewis’ race.
“I’d like to look at the positives of this race and say that he has just won the championship and not dig into some kind of controversy that is not necessary at this stage.”
Refraining from commenting on whether Vettel had hit Hamilton deliberately at the start, Wolff believes the collision prevented Hamilton from fighting Verstappen for victory despite the Red Bull’s dominance over second-placed Valtteri Bottas.
“Almost half of his left diffuser was ripped off. We lost a lot of performance and the car was badly damaged.
“I think in Lewis’ case he would’ve won the race. Because our pace with a very damaged car was still good. He was not happy with how the car was driving, but pace-wise I don’t know how far off he was from the fastest lap, half a second? So I think at least we would’ve been in the race for winning.”