Toto Wolff admits he looks ‘like a fool’

Sir Lewis Hamilton admitted that his first-lap incident with Fernando Alonso was his fault.

It was back to reality for the Mercedes F1 Team, after a run of two consecutive double podiums came to a demoralising end at the Belgian Grand Prix, after George Russell finished fourth and Sir Lewis Hamilton retired.

It was Hamilton’s first DNF of the season so far, and also saw his run of five consecutive podium finishes come to an end.

The Brit, who started fourth, made an excellent start to the race and was on the gearbox of Fernando Alonso for P2 into Les Combes.

Hamilton swooped to the outside of his former team-mate but cut across the Spaniard at the apex of the corner.

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This left Alonso nowhere to go, resulting in the pair colliding and Hamilton being sent into the air.

The seven-time World Champion basically performed a nose-dive, with the rear of his W13 going almost 180 degrees into the Belgian sky.

The car landed back on the circuit heavily, all but certainly causing substantial floor damage.

Hamilton was quickly told to stop the car in sector three, after driving round the circuit clearly carrying damage.

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Alonso somehow came out of the collision without damage; however, he had some incredibly strong words for the 37-year-old.

Alonso was immediately insulting Hamilton over his team radio as soon as the incident happened, the Spaniard insisted that the Brit was an “idiot”, whilst also saying that the Mercedes driver “only knows how to drive and start in first”

The collision was deemed to be a racing incident, but Hamilton did take full responsibility after the race for causing the collision.

Hamilton explained that the 41-year-old was in his blind-spot, meaning the Brit was completely unaware of his presence.

Team principal Toto Wolff defended his driver after the race when asked about the remarks made by Alonso.

Wolff joked that Hamilton’s strategy of starting first has clearly worked, due to claiming seven titles.

“Well, Lewis has started in the front a lot,” said the Mercedes boss.

“He’s won seven world championships so the strategy worked!”

Hamilton’s near back breaking end to the race summed up what a dire weekend it was for the Silver Arrows, who found themselves two seconds off the pace in qualifying.

Wolff declared Saturday as the “worst” he’s ever had as Mercedes’ team principal, with the Brackley-based side once again completely lost as to what the W13’s issue is.

Russell’s race pace further added to the confusion, after being 2.1 seconds behind in qualifying, but somehow three seconds faster than the Alpine F1 Team and the McLaren F1 Team at times during the race.

Wolff still wants to see his team win in 2022 with it being the side’s “ambition”; however, the Austrian admitted that there are “big question marks” over what is going on this season.

“There are big question marks about what is going on,” added Wolff.

“It is not where we should be with the structure and the knowledge to understand a racing car, but we don’t with this one.

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“We still have the ambition to win races this year. If I would have told you that in Budapest, you would have said ‘Well, that’s pretty possible’, whereas today saying that I look like a fool.

“But there are some race tracks that will suit our car much more than now. Hopefully, we’ll get it right next Saturday [at the Dutch GP], so that is the ambition whilst at the same time giving it a big focus on next year.

“Finishing second or third [in the constructors’ championship] makes no difference to me, but in saying that we want the best race result every week to build confidence.”