Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has affirmed that there was no “falling out” with seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton after he was eliminated from qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Hamilton was seen having an enigmatic conversation with the Austrian after he clambered out of his Mercedes car during a red flag period in the second qualifying session, knowing that the arrival of rain had put pay to their chances of setting a lap good enough for the top 10.
Generally, the rain played little part in the abrupt exit, as the “porpoising” and pace issues that the Brackley side have been faced with this season looked more aggravated than ever on Friday.
Fans on social media naturally speculated as to the nature of the conversation the pair had, but Hamilton did not wish to divulge what was said.
“It’s all internal stuff so I don’t want to share that but we’ll just keep working,” he told Sky Sports.
George Russell would end the subsequent sprint race in 11th with the 37-year-old in 14th in another difficult day for the Silver Arrows on Saturday, but before that, Wolff affirmed that his discussion with Hamilton pertained to a mutual frustration at an extremely difficult situation for the team.
“There was no disagreement at all. It doesn’t go any closer like the two of us are,” he explained.
“We were just so angry about the session overall, him and I, and he vented at me, I vented at him but it was absolutely about the same thing.
“It’s just a degree of frustration that we are not able to generate the grip on the first lap and yesterday was all about first lap. Then it red-flagged and we weren’t able to make it into Q3 and it’s so frustrating.”
Friday was the first time since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix that Mercedes have failed to make Q3 with either driver.
They will be hoping to avoid finishing the race on Sunday with both cars outside the top 10 for the first time since the 2012 United States Grand Prix 183 races ago.