Wolff hopeful Hamilton will keep racing

Steve Etherington/Motorsport Images

Wolff hopeful Hamilton will keep racing

Formula 1

Wolff hopeful Hamilton will keep racing


Lewis Hamilton will have to overcome the pain of feeling wronged in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to continue to race in Formula 1, according to his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Mercedes has dropped its appeal into the handling of the safety car on Sunday, when FIA race director Michael Masi allowed only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to overtake in order to set up a final-lap shootout between the two. After Verstappen came out on top, Wolff felt Mercedes would struggle to reach a satisfactory outcome through the FIA International Court of Appeal, but hopes the decisions taken on Sunday don’t lead to Hamilton stopping racing.

“On a human level it’s extremely difficult because it’s so disappointing,” Wolff said. “We love this sport, and suddenly you are starting to question. I mean, you must never lose the big context of life — this is just Formula 1, this is just a sport; much worse things happen out there and we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking this is the most important thing in the world.

“But it’s our little microcosm. It’s a microcosm that we have been part of and we have created values and beliefs (in). Many of those values and beliefs were kicked on Sunday.

“So I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all time. When you look at it from the point of view of the last four races he was dominant — there was not even a doubt who won the race. And that was worthy of winning the world championship.

“So we will be working through the events over the next weeks and months. I think as a racer his heart will say, ‘I need to continue’ because he’s at the peak of his game, but we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday; also because he is a man with clear values and it’s difficult to understand that that happened.”

Wolff says Hamilton has been involved throughout the process, including the decision to stop the appeal on Thursday, as both team and driver felt the FIA “grading its own homework” would not lead to any change in outcome as its dissatisfaction is with the governance and not its on-track rivals.

“Every step of the way it was joint decisions. We decided together with Lewis to protest, to launch the appeal, and to withdraw the appeal. As you can imagine, not only for him but also for us as a team, it was terrible, to be confronted with a decision that decided the outcome of the world championship. But neither him nor us, want to win a championship in the courtroom.

“But on the other side we were deeply wronged on Sunday, and it wasn’t just a case of a bad call, it was freestyle reading of the rules and it left Lewis like a sitting duck. So it was tremendously hard for him and us as a team to withdraw the appeal because we were wronged. And we deeply believe that in Formula 1, the pinnacle of motor racing, one of the most important sports in the world, justice (needs to be) done.

“My soul and my heart cries with every bone that this should have been judged in the right way, and the legal situation would have given us right, but … there is a difference between being right and obtaining justice.”


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