Wolff defends Hamilton, calls for ‘dialogue’ with the FIA

Sir Lewis Hamilton has warned he could stop racing in Formula 1 as a result of the jewellery clampdown.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that Sir Lewis Hamilton and FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem need to sit down and discuss the jewellery situation that dominated the Miami Grand Prix weekend.

Race director Niels Wittich gave the drivers another reminder ahead of the race in Florida that the wearing of metallic items in the cockpit is outlawed, and gave Hamilton until the Monaco Grand Prix to make his permanent piercings on his ears and nose removable.

The seven-time champion did not seem to have any interest in doing so, stating that the sport has “bigger fish to fry” right now, and suggested that he would wear “four watches” next time instead of the three he donned during the press conference.

READ: ‘We’re a bit down’: Wolff emotionless after double points haul in Miami

He did however affirm that he does not want this to turn into a conflict, and he wishes to be an “ally” to ben Sulayem.

Wolff admits that a compromise likely needs to be discussed, but does not think that the situation will boil over into a war between Hamilton and Formula 1 management.

“I think what was needed was a dialogue between Lewis and Mohammed. It is clear that regulations are here to protect the drivers,” he said, quoted by the Express.

“On the other side, we need to keep the possibility of diversity and the means of expressing ourselves, and we know that this is important for Lewis.

“Without going into detail as to where the piercing stayed and where not, I’m sure they will come to a good resolution.”

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An improved performance in Miami for Hamilton saw him out-qualify George Russell for the third time this season, but an unfortunate Safety Car for the 37-year-old ultimately lost him a position to his younger team-mate as they came home fifth and sixth.

READ: Mercedes hoping to turn their fortunes around with upgrade package in Barcelona

While there was room for optimism after slightly better fortunes in the States, Wolff is still frustrated by the deficit his team have to Red Bull and Ferrari.

“George stayed out a long time and we were betting on a Safety Car and that materialised from nowhere and it went against Lewis who lost a position,” he explained.

“At the end of the day there is no happy or not happy moment at the moment just because we’re a bit down.

“We’re third quickest on the road and we’re in no man’s land. We had a good Friday. We need to dissect why that was and then come back.

“This is where we are. We’re not as quick in qualifying and we are behind the Red Bulls and Ferrari.”

Mercedes now trail Constructors’ Championship leaders Ferrari by 62 points as they continue to sit in P3 in the strandings.