Toto Wolff digs up old graves as Mercedes boss makes cutting comment after Las Vegas GP | F1 | Sport
Toto Wolff has taken a swipe at former race director Michael Masi following his controversial actions at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On November 26 F1 will take to the Yas Marina Circuit for the final race of the season and it will be the last chance for teams to score some more points before another exciting year comes to an end.
Mercedes head to Abu Dhabi with a chance to finish second in the Constructors’ standings and Lewis Hamilton has a chance to come in third in the Drivers’ standings behind Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. The Silver Arrows have a rocky relationship with the Abu Dhabi GP over how Hamilton missed out on a record eighth world championship in 2021.
Wolff has not forgotten how Masi’s controversial decision in the closing stages of the race two years ago had an impact on the outcome and allowed Verstappen to win his first title. Speaking about going to Abu Dhabi after the GP in Las Vegas on Sunday, Wolff could not resist making a few comments indirectly aimed at Masi.
“I think we’re going there level on points. With a proper race director, so that should be fine,” the Austrian told reporters. “Let’s race there. It will be last weekend. They are very fast and did a good job. I think we could be on par today But the result shows something different. To be honest, P2 is good to be positive to finish the season, but P2, P3 is a little bit for me… it doesn’t make me happy anyway.”
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix became a global showdown between Hamilton and Verstappen, who were tied on points going into the final race of that season. Several laps from the end of the race, the 38-year-old cruised to victory and had an 11-second lead over his Red Bull rival in second place.
But Nicholas Latifi suffered a late crash, and the safety car was deployed. The former race director, Masi, first ordered that lapped cars could not overtake the safety vehicle until it left the track.
This means that Verstappen would not have had time to get behind his rival before the allotted number of laps had been completed. However, Masi controversially and incorrectly later changed his mind, allowing the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlock themselves before ordering the safety car off the track.
As such, the Dutchman was able to get off the British driver’s tail before overtaking him during the one-lap shootout, benefiting from driving on much newer tires and sealing his first world title. Hamilton, Wolff, and the entire Mercedes team were left furious and protested the decision, which was deemed unsuccessful.
The British driver has not won a race since the 2021 Saudi Grand Prix and could only manage P7 at the Las Vegas Street Circuit. Teammate Russell finished eighth and Mercedes are now just four points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings going into Abu Dhabi. Reflecting on the race, Wolff seemed unfazed.
“We are sorry to say again that we had speed but no result,” he said. “George after the incident with Verstappen when he got a penalty, so many games were over. Also, he had speed up front, maybe not Max, but it is what it is. Today we have seen the speed of the eye. I think we can recover and score solid podiums [in Abu Dhabi].”
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