Mercedes wants to “bring respect back” to Hamilton/Verstappen crash discussion

Mercedes wants to “bring respect back” to Hamilton/Verstappen crash discussion

The team issued a statement on Thursday after the FIA threw out Red Bull’s right to review the case to push for Hamilton to gain a harsher penalty for his role in the first-lap British Grand Prix collision with title rival Max Verstappen that led to a 51G impact for the Dutch racer.

Mercedes hoped the ruling would bring “this incident to a close” and “mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton”.

When asked why the team had chosen to release the statement, Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff explained that it was to bring “respect back” after he felt Red Bull had “overstepped”.

He said: “I think we wanted to bring a little bit of respect back to the discussion.

“We understand that emotions can run high and that is always a matter of perspective and perception. But we felt that that line was overstepped.”

Between the two FIA media press conferences that took place following the first free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, which Verstappen topped over the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton, Wolff said he had spoken to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner for the first time since the collision.

But he added that statements to the media had become “very emotional” and “heated” in the aftermath of the crash and now was the time to “de-escalate” the feud in a bid to diffuse increased “polarisation” that bled out on social media and led to racist abuse directed at seven-time world champion Hamilton.

Wolff said: “I think the remarks that were made during and after the Silverstone Grand Prix were just elaborated further in the [Red Bull] document [submitted to the FIA].

“[The comments were] not always looking at the incident only, but giving it a wider taste. That was beyond other things, just a step too far.

“I think the things were said and written were very emotional and heated.

“Everybody does other things in the way they want and can.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal Mercedes

Toto Wolff, Team Principal Mercedes

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“I don’t want to ignite even more the fuel, the fire, and the controversy.

“What we need to do as a sports teams is to de-escalate and not create more polarisation in the social media.”

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Wolff added that now was the time to decide whether apologies were due following “below the belt” comments, but neither he nor Hamilton would “demand” Red Bull came forward.

He said: “I think everybody needs to decide whether they want to apologise or not.

“We felt that the comments that were made during and after the race and then in written statements, and in the meeting itself, were below the belt.

“But it’s not up to me, nor would Lewis want to demand any apologies.”

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