Toto Wolff insists he will not single out any team member or Lewis Hamilton for the mistakes that resulted in the championship leader getting two penalties ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton carried out two practice starts at the pit exit on his way to the grid, and was issued a five-second time penalty for doing them out of position and another five seconds for not maintaining a consistent speed in the pit exit. The driver had asked his race engineer Pete Bonington if he could go further down from the pit exit to practice starts and the team told him he could, but Wolff said it’s a group mistake even if he disagrees with the penalty.
“The errors always happen together, it’s not a team error and it’s not a Lewis error,” Wolff said. “I wouldn’t want to point (the finger) at anybody, and I’ve never done that. The verdict was that he wasn’t in the right place. There is no mention what the right place is in the directors’ note, nor is it in the regulations.
“We disagree on that one. We agree to disagree on that one. The other one was for not driving at constant speed in the reconnaissance laps, and again, it’s debatable, but the race has happened. He received a 10-second penalty. For the reconnaissance lap infringement, an in-race penalty can be debated also, but we have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Wolff’s main issue with Hamilton’s penalty relates to the wording of the FIA instructions, which he said just state that all drivers must pass before doing their practice starts, but don’t define how far down the pit lane they can go.
“I’m not happy with the penalty because it’s far-fetched,” he said. “But we will agree to disagree and I will always respect the stewards’ and their job but on that one we will agree to disagree.
“The race directors notes state, if I am well-informed, that you must do the practice starts after the lights on the right-hand side of the pit lane. And what’s what happened.”