“Pretty Virginal in the Role” – Toto Wolff Takes Blame for Hamilton-Rosberg F1 Feud

Published 10/07/2021, 6:05 AM EDT
STUTTGART, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 29: Mercedes GP Formula One drivers Nico Rosberg (L) of Germany and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain pose during a press conference with Toto Wolff, the Mercedes GP Executive Director, during the annual Mercedes Benz Stars & Cars event at the Mercedes Benz Museum on November 29, 2014 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)


The Mercedes lineup for 2022 looks really promising, with the young British driver George Russell joining seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. With both of the drivers being two of the absolute best on the grid, it’s quite evident that none of them would want to play second fiddle.

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There is a fear that the duel between Hamilton and Russell might escalate because none of them would be ready to leave even an inch of space for the other. The last time something like this happened at Mercedes, it didn’t go quite well for the Silver Arrows. However, team boss Toto Wolff has revealed that he does not expect the duel between Russell and Hamilton to rise to the Rosberg-Hamilton levels.

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Toto Wolff blames himself for the Rosberg-Hamilton Situation

The last time a driver in an equal car challenged Lewis Hamilton, was Nico Rosberg, Hamilton’s teammate in 2016. The pair fought for the Drivers World Championship and Rosberg narrowly won the fight, but the bitter competition between the two was almost like an acid test for the team.

The pair crashed and collided with each other multiple times, throwing away big points for the team and for themselves. And the atmosphere in the team garage itself wasn’t really something good.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and second place finisher and World Drivers Champion Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP on the podium during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

In an interview with ‘Motorsport-Total.com,’ Toto Wolff made a surprising comment and took the blame on himself for the way that the Hamilton-Rosberg situation played out.

Toto referred to the 2016 duel between Hamilton and Rosberg, saying that it, “was not properly managed. I have to write that in my own head. But I was still pretty virginal in the role back then. It’s different today. I didn’t know the past of the two drivers and have. Maybe the team didn’t react robustly enough to avoid these things.

Things will be different between Russell and Hamilton

Toto Wolff is confident that he will have better control over Hamilton and Russell because of the experience he gained trying to manage Rosberg and Hamilton. “I believe that we as a team can now manage this much better than perhaps back then when we slipped into the unknown,” said Toto Wolff to ‘Motorsport-Total.com’ (translated via Google Translate)

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Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2014, Grand Prix of Brazil, #6 Nico Rosberg (GER, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team), Toto Wolff (AUT, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team), (Photo by Hoch Zwei/Corbis via Getty Images)

When Rosberg retired at the end of the 2016 season, Toto insisted on harmony between the team members. Valtteri Bottas has been a perfect fit for that role, not having any problems being the number 2.

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But now, Mercedes is taking in George Russell, an aspiring star and possibly a future world champion. He is very unlikely to be satisfied with a number 2 role. Only time will tell how the Russell-Hamilton duo gets along with each other.

 

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Riddhi Mondal

88 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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