Home Sport Toto Wolff reacts after George Russell's apology as Lewis Hamilton beaten to...

Toto Wolff reacts after George Russell's apology as Lewis Hamilton beaten to podium spot

Toto Wolff believes there was ‘more up for grabs’ for Mercedes in Montreal after George Russell apologised for an ‘ugly’ Canadian Grand Prix. Russell qualified on pole as the Silver Arrows showed better pace than they have done all season, but he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were ultimately forced to settle for third and fourth on race day.

Russell could have dropped out of the podium places altogether if he hadn’t executed an audacious late overtake on Hamilton. That move served to restore some feel-good factor after a chaotic afternoon for the 26-year-old, who ran across the kerb in a battle with Lando Norris, and made contact with Oscar Piastri.

After the chequered flag, despite clinching his first podium of the 2024 season, Russell said over the team radio: “Ugly race on my behalf. Sorry for that. I’m very sorry for that. It felt like a missed opportunity.”

And team principal Wolff shed more light on the team’s feelings following a Grand Prix in which they showed a dramatic improvement on their performances so far this year, but could have come away with an even better result.

“I think when you finish third and fourth, from where we have been coming from, then it is a positive race,” said the Austrian. “Third and fourth is so much better than we had previously in the last few races, so that is good, but I think both drivers saw that there was more up for grabs.

“We could have gained a position or two, and that is why there is a kind of negative sentiment, but if you would have given them third and fourth before the weekend, they probably would have taken it.

“I mean in FP3, Lewis put up a lap that was out of this world, and then his long run was stratospheric, galactical.”

Russell passing Hamilton in Montreal was the latest sign of a shift in the balance of power at Mercedes, as the former Williams man prepares to become the team’s leader when the seven-time world champion leaves to join Ferrari.

It remains to be seen whether Russell is able to extend his 14-point Drivers’ Championship lead over Hamilton next time out in Spain, where Wolff hopes Mercedes show the same level of pace that caused the leaders problems in Canada.

“There was a lot of pace in qualifying,” said the Mercedes boss. “We seem to be very strong at the beginning and then lose a little bit of performance. Maybe we could have optimised it at the end, but the car was very quick. This track is very different to everything else, it is an outlier, so hopefully we can demonstrate that we have found genuine pace [in Spain].”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here