Wolff reveals if FIA ordered Russell to give Hamilton position back after illegal overtake

George Russell passed Sir Lewis Hamilton late on to take fifth place at the Miami Grand Prix.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed that there was no back-and-forth with the stewards regarding George Russell’s illegal overtake on Sir Lewis Hamilton, which he was pleased with.

Russell qualified 12th in Miami, but made use of a long stint on Hards to pit under a Safety Car and re-join just behind Hamilton.

He had a couple of attempts at getting through on his advantageous strategy after he left the circuit at Turn 11, and Wolff reveals that race director Niels Wittich unequivocally told them to swap.

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“The was no dialogue with the FIA and I think that is how it should be. It is the FIA coming back to us and saying, ‘They need to change position,’” he said.

The pass came after some confusion as to whether the Silver Arrows wanted to bring Hamilton into the pits or not, and the 37-year-old was not pleased at being asked for his take given that he did not have the full picture.

“In that scenario, I have no clue where everyone is and so when the team say it’s your choice, I’m like ‘I don’t have the information to make the decision so that’s what your job is! Like make the decision for me, you’ve got all the details, I don’t,’” he told Sky Sports.

The seven-time champion had four used sets of tyres available to him, and he had been running on the Mediums during the first stint.

The Softs might not have had the longevity to make it home in what was eventually sixth place but, either way, Wolff asserts that the 37-year-old was put in a very unfortunate situation.

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“I think he was between a rock and a hard place because the Safety Car clearly came out in a situation that wasn’t favourable for him and was favourable for George in the back,” he said, quoted by GPFans.

“George had a window with no one behind him. He was able to switch on a practically new medium and Lewis had to decide ‘Do I keep the position on a hard or do I go on a soft?’.

“That would have also been tricky so that was probably a 50-50 decision and in the end, it didn’t work out for him.

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“It is not the first time this season that he has been unlucky with the Safety Car.”

Russell now sits 23 points ahead of Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship having finished ahead of him in all of the last four races.