Toto Wolff says Mercedes has been left questioning whether the recent collisions caused by Ferrari drivers have been “deliberate or incompetence” after Lewis Hamilton was hit in the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton got a poor start and dropped to third behind Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas on the run to Turn 3, where Kimi Raikkonen attacked on the inside but locked up and hit the Briton’s right rear wheel. Hamilton was pitched into a spin that relegated him to 17th place at the time, and Wolff praised the defending champion’s performance in climbing back to finish second to Vettel.
“It was an amazing recovery from Lewis as he was dead last and ended P2 which was the maximum damage limitation we could achieve,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “It was a fantastic drive from him.”
Asked if he saw the collision with Raikkonen as being a racing incident — coming two races after Vettel had a similar clash with Bottas — Wolff replied: “Yes a racing incident.
“Unfortunate, because at Le Castellet the first time we got taken out and now it is the second time we got taken out. It is a lot of constructors’ points… James Allison’s words were: ‘Do you think it was deliberate or incompetence?’ This is where it leaves us with the judgement.”
With Vettel receiving a five-second time penalty for the incident in France and Raikkonen a 10-second penalty at Silverstone, Wolff says the differences are a result of the way the rules only allow specific outcomes.
“I think there’s actually consistency on the penalties. They are what they are and there’s a certain arsenal of penalties the stewards have available, a five-second penalty and a 10-seconds penalty or a drive-through, that’s what they have in the regulations and then they look at the precedents.
“What we need to discuss among all of us is that if certain incidents occur and they have a massive outcome in what’s happening, maybe around a race win and what the consequences will be that’s a different story. But on the penalty itself, they are like the rulebook says so it is what it is.”
Wolff then added: “[I’m] not comfortable at all with the incident because it’s tiresome to be taken out in the first lap.”