Furious Toto Wolff fires accusation at stewards after Lewis Hamilton punished

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was evidently unhappy with the stewards at the 2023 Belgian GP.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has come to the defense of Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time champion was handed a five-second penalty for colliding with Sergio Perez during the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint. 

As the incident sparked controversy, Wolff emphasised that it takes “two to tango” and labeled the collision as an “absolute racing incident.”

During the race, Hamilton and Perez were battling for fourth position when the Mexican driver began to struggle with his pace. 

Perez’s slide wide at Stavelot allowed Hamilton to seize the opportunity and make a move to the inside at Paul Frere, preparing for the run to Blanchimont. 

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However, as they went side-by-side, their cars made contact, resulting in damage to Perez’s sidepod and Hamilton’s floor.

The contact had consequences for both drivers, with Perez sliding backward down the field due to a lack of rear grip. 

Ultimately, he found himself in the gravel at Stavelot, leading to his retirement after entering the pits.

In response to the incident and the penalty that pushed Hamilton from fourth to seventh in the final classification, Toto Wolff addressed the media, expressing his belief that it was a genuine racing incident. 

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He argued that the competitive nature of Sprint races demands such on-track battles and stated, “This is a Sprint race, we want to see them racing. 

“The argument of there being damage isn’t valid because he was going backwards before then, massively backward… 

“They were side-by-side. 

“Fair enough, it takes two to tango, but it is a racing incident – it is pretty clear.”

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Wolff’s support for Hamilton’s perspective aligns with the British driver’s assertion that the collision was unintentional and not deserving of a penalty. 

Hamilton, recalling a quote from his racing idol Ayrton Senna, had defended his actions by emphasising the essence of racing and going for a gap when it exists.

The stewards’ decision and the subsequent penalty added an element of contention to the already rain-hit Sprint at Spa-Francorchamps.