Toto Wolff believes the stewards at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez were wrong not to penalise Max Verstappen during Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix after the Dutchman appeared to prohibit Valtteri Bottas from getting a clear run through the stadium section early on in Q3.
Bottas was on his first flying lap when he encountered a slow moving Verstappen heading towards turn thirteen, and despite the Dutchman attempting to get out of the way, it distracted the Finn enough to warrant him abandoning his lap.
Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport and boss of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, felt Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen should have taken a penalty for the incident, but the stewards in Mexico disagreed, and took no action, and coupled with the penalty Verstappen took a week ago in the United States, Wolff felt it was the end of week to forget for Formula 1’s stewards.
“The last seven days were not the most glorious in decision-making,” said Wolff in Mexico, when asked about the lack of action taken against Verstappen.
Bottas felt it should have been a clear penalty for Verstappen, who keeps his second place on the grid ahead of the two Mercedes drivers, with the Finn only having one run in Q3 as a result of his abandonment of his first run.
“Before Turn 12 I saw him going slowly and he stayed at the exit of Turn 12 at the left-hand side,” said Bottas. “It definitely compromised my lap a little bit.
“I had to go run very close to him in Turn 12, so then you naturally lose time – and then as well my approach to 13 was compromised a little bit with the line. So it was not similar as going in the free air, or with no car in front. I had a lock-up in Turn 13, which I’m sure I would have not had without Max in there.
“And then I had only one shot in Q3 in the end and, you know, when you don’t have a lap on the board, normally you refuel for an extra lap, which costs you time, and also you don’t have the experience from the run before in the last sector, which was actually the main losses for me in Q3.
“So… yeah, it’s happened and there’s no penalty, so that’s history.”