Toto Wolff says the Mercedes intra-team collision at the start of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix makes him feel uncomfortable, though he does not expect a repeat this time around.

In 2016, teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took each other out on the opening lap in Barcelona after locking out the front-row of the grid in what proved to be a nightmare race for Mercedes.

The reigning world champion squad once again finds itself with a front-row lockout in 2019, with Valtteri Bottas heading Hamilton on this occasion. Hamilton and Bottas ran wheel-to-wheel at the start last time out in Baku and the Briton conceded he could have been more aggressive in his approach.

“All that doesn’t make us feel comfortable,” Wolff admitted when asked if Mercedes is worried about history repeating itself in Spain.

“Everyone knows that lap one is very important and in Barcelona it can be race decisive but the two have been so respectful with each other on and off track that we are in a very different place than we were in 2016.

“We completely acknowledge that there is rivalry between the two of them and that rivalry will intensify the longer the championship goes, if it is between them.

“This is something we must address and tackle in a transparent way, like any other given Sunday morning we will chat and talk about scenarios and play a few videos. They know - Lewis has been there and Valtteri has always been very open that he acknowledges the hard work of the team going on.

“Both of them have been really great in really respecting the immense effort that has been going on in the team’s work, therefore it is very different to 2016.”

Hamilton ended up being 0.6s adrift of Bottas in qualifying and cited a problem with harvesting the battery on his Mercedes car, something Wolff moved to explain further, adding the issue “massively compromised” Hamilton’s Q3 runs.

“It was that in Q2, on the second lap, there was a yellow and he aborted the lap and pitted,” Wolff said. “Normally you need the cool down lap to recharge the battery and that’s why he ended up in the garage with a battery that wasn’t full.

“You can do it on the outlap but then if you are compromised by the traffic you might end up with a pack that is not completely charged.

“So we needed to send him early, or at least that was the idea, to send him early so he could do the lap needed to charge the pack. That made him end up in traffic which obviously compromised his lap massively.”

Comments

Loading Comments...