Click here for full British Grand Prix Qualifying Results from Silverstone

Toto Wolff has hit back at those criticising Lewis Hamilton for missing the F1 London Live event ahead of the British Grand Prix, saying it is an 'insult' to question his motivations.

The three-time world champion raised eyebrows as the only driver to skip the London event - the largest of its kind to have been put on by the sport -, instead preferring to spend two days in Greece with friends before travelling to Silverstone.

Justifying the absence as merely his way of preparing for his home race, where he is bidding for a fifth British Grand Prix, his Mercedes team boss Wolff came out to defend his driver after he received a grilling from the media.

"He took a decision for his championship and the way he is being treated in certain media is wrong and not fair. Before his first race in Silverstone after a rough weekend in Austria with the penalty and after a rough weekend in Baku losing a race, treating the local superstar and hero in that way is absolutely against how I see things."

"The one that mentioned 19 drivers were there and not all was Christian Horner. Christian is always trying to put a little bit of mischief into the situation and fair enough. There were three boos out of 20,000 people that were in front of me. No more. I was there and I saw it. If you ask the question in the right way and the superstar is not here, of course people are not happy. I wouldn't be happy if I go there and the guy I was trying to see is not there.

"Questioning whether a three-time world champion, who has just broken Ayrton Senna's record and is going to beat Schumacher's record, doesn't understand how he should prepare himself is an insult.

"This is how I operate the team, I give him freedom to organise his days the way he wants. And if he feels that staying away from a Formula One environment, being with his friends helps him to overcome what has been hard weekends in the past and helps him to extract performance in Silverstone, then so be it."

Indeed, Wolff says there is no 'backlash' against Hamilton based on the rapturous reception he received for his pole position.

"I don't see that there is a big backlash. It is the only country where people are cheering when he sets best sector times. I am hidden in the back of the garage and I can hear the crowds in the grandstands applauding and screaming when he sets a purple sector time, so he has the backing. We need to be careful that we are not making something bigger than it is.

"He has a huge following, the largest following in F1 and the people that have come to Silverstone love him, but like many other superstars they polarise. And there will be some that like him and some that don't like him. For him it's the most important to be in a happy place and perform well on track.

"When you are so exposed to the media and everything you do is being scrutinised, you need to reflect on what's important for you and home crowd is probably most important. But there is so much he does that is not visible that I must honestly say that we need to give him a certain credit."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

Hamilton is laden with talent. Too bad he doesn't have even an inkling of how lucky he's been in life, so far. Nothing like showing your fans how appreciative you are of their support like passing on them.

Toto is abit tetchy lately. Does he have piles or something?

Every time there is a photo of Lewis's back I keep seeing the back of Toto's head on the seat of his trousers. Really tough babysitting a spoiled kid...breath in Toto, it isn't roses you will smell

Jim Clausen: Hamilton is laden with talent. Too bad he doesn't have even an inkling of how lucky he's been in life, so far. Nothing like showing your fans how appreciative you are of their support like passing on them. [\blockquote]
Surely, we see Lewis Hamilton "showing appreciation" to his fans (especially when he wins, it has to be said) more than any other driver in the series does, not even Fernando who understands and manipulates this dynamic more than any other of the lot. I follow Lewis or any of the others not because they owe me any appreciation, nor because they are saintly human beings, but by how frigging good they show themselves to be on the track. Whether you show up or not on a street parade on Wednesday, it is what you will do on Sunday that counts and, if have paid for a ticket, around which I have any expectations.

Wait a minute! If you choose to miss out on a street Formula 1 show, even in your home city, and instead "prepare" by going off to rollick on the beach and all night parties with your buddies, come back and then smash everyone else for pole by half a second, in my book you also can, if you want, absent yourself from all the press conferences, track, pit lane and paddock parades that I believe most fans endure more than they relish.

mrfill: Toto is abit tetchy lately. Does he have piles or something?[\blockquote]
Tetchy? With the kinds of dumb a**e bugging he has been enduring from the fatuous media, I am surprised he hasn't replied with what would amount to a grievous prosecutable act!

Why should others participate then?
Screw all the pr stuff, let drivers do whatever they want and attend the race whenever they want.

I wish i could ignore my boss when he asks me to do something

was better without him anyway

Yeah Wolff thinks we care what he thinks,he's just another overpaid premadonna.merc should have told lh to get your arse to London and earn your money you big headed tart