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F1 Singapore GP: Steiner dismisses Wolff over latest Gutierrez backlash

Guenther Steiner reacts to Toto Wolff's criticism of Esteban Gutierrez after suggesting the Haas driver 'doesn't care who is trying to overtake'

Guenther Steiner has again come to the defence of his driver Esteban Gutierrez after Toto Wolff singled the Haas driver out for his failure to adhere to blue flags.

The Mexican has come under repeated fire in recent races for 'blocking', being called out by Lewis Hamilton in Hungary and Daniel Ricciardo in Germany. He was also handed a grid penalty in the Belgian Grand Prix for touring on the unsighted racing line at the top of Eau Rouge, forcing Pascal Wehrlein to the grass at high speed, though Haas insists that was the error of his 'distracted' engineer and not the driver.

Nevertheless, Gutierrez has been criticised again by Mercedes boss Wolff for what he felt was the unnecessary impediment of leader Nico Rosberg as the German fought to keep the fast-approaching Daniel Ricciardo behind him.

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“We ran into a little bit of a traffic situation with Felipe [Massa] and Gutierrez, who were fighting for position, and Gutierrez at least makes it the same for everybody, he doesn't care who is trying to overtake. But honestly, I want to say there is a fight for the race win going on between two guys fighting for every tenth and one guy cruising around interfering with the race and it's always the same guy.

“So I think Ron was shouting to Charlie and Felipe went out of the way and Esteban was just cruising out there and enjoying the gap he was making to Felipe.”

However, Steiner has hit back at Wolff for what he feels is unfairly pointing the finger of blame at Gutierrez because of a reputation that has now developed.

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“I think it all started with Lewis giving him the finger. It all started with that one, so I don't think that's a correct gesture from a Mercedes driver. So I think it all started with that. They didn't have to call us twice, we got out of the way, we got as quickly out of the way as Massa. I would leave it there, I'm not going into any more. Toto's got his opinion, we have got our opinion, we didn't get a fine, the FIA didn't complain so if he has got a problem he needs to go and see the stewards.”

“I think he's a little bit of a punching ball at the moment, Esteban, because I think he was pretty good in the race and he was racing Massa, why should he get out of the way? You get out of the way when he needs to, but I think he was very fair today, I must admit. I don't see a problem with what he did, it's easy to say when you're as dominant as Mercedes is, so I would take that comment as a Toto comment.”

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18.09.2016 - Race, Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
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September 19, 2016 1:43 PM

Hey, he was racing Massa, arguably for his career, and he never held Rosberg up by much. It was a street circuit and hard to get out of the way anyway. And Toto was really reflecting his own angst at making a call for Lewis that almost cost Nico the race. The Mercedes decision is why the race was this close in the first place.


September 19, 2016 1:06 PM

personally i think that blue flags should be stopped. the race is not just about the leader, who with a faster car should have little difficulty passing. gutierrez was also racing! and he was looking for points too. and remember toto, you expect your customers to not hinder the progress of your two, without the need for blue flags.

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