Toto Wolff insists George Russell is to blame

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hasn't hesitated to lay the blame on George Russell.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that a decision made by George Russell last weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix left the team feeling “lost”, whilst it also cost them valuable points.

Russell started third in Zandvoort but fell to fourth on the opening lap, before encountering a sudden heavy downpour in the final sector.

Sergio Perez in P7 opted to pit at the end of the lap for Intermediates, whereas Russell decided that it was better to stay out, despite Mercedes having told him to pit.

As a result, both Russell and Lewis Hamilton stayed out, a call which proved to be very costly.

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Perez ended up inheriting a 14-second lead, once the majority of the drivers pitted on the following lap.

Mercedes though, kept Russell and Hamilton out for several laps, which resulted in both drivers falling to the back of the field once they eventually pitted for Intermediates.

Had Mercedes pitted either driver on the opening lap, then a podium would’ve been on the cards.

“George told us to stay out during the second and third round and of course, you have to depend on that,” Wolff told Sky Germany.

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“We did not look at the gap Perez created and the rain came faster and stronger than expected. Our forecasts didn’t see that coming.

“The driver has the best perspective, and the driver said, ‘no, let’s stay out’, which is a collective decision,” Wolff conceded.

“Until now, he’s been able to estimate the conditions well, but this time, we were lost. There was just too much water. I think we had a car that could have easily been at the front but this is motorsport.”

Hamilton ended up finishing in sixth, whereas Russell claimed 17th, with the 25-year-old having been forced to pit late on due to an unfortunate puncture.

Mercedes will be incredibly frustrated by the fact that they didn’t pit either driver on the opening lap, as Hamilton or Russell could’ve actually taken the fight to Max Verstappen.

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The error was so significant, Wolff described it as a “monumental mistake”, which “ruined our race”.

“We made a monumental mistake in the beginning,” Wolff admitted.

“Between driving in these conditions and strategy, including me. We did not see that Perez was driving 25 seconds faster during the first round. There is no nice way to put it, we ruined our race.”