Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “A decision like this is never black and white”

by Paul Hensby

Toto Wolff says he respects that their will be different opinions about the stewards’ decision to penalise Sebastian Vettel with a five-second time penalty during the Canadian Grand Prix, with the Austrian team principal of the Mercedes AMG Motorsport team admitting it was not a clear-cut case.

Scuderia Ferrari’s Vettel was penalised with a five-second time penalty by the stewards at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday meaning, despite crossing the line first, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was victorious.  The penalty came about when, on lap forty-eight, Vettel made a mistake at turn three, run across the grass and re-joined the track at turn four in the path of Hamilton, something the stewards deemed as dangerous.

Wolff admits decisions like this will sometimes go against them, but in this instance Mercedes were the beneficiary of the stewards’ decision, and he respects the fact that many will disagree that the penalty was justified, including Ferrari who are intending to appeal it.

“It was a tricky weekend for us and a tricky way to end the race,” said Wolff.  “The Stewards have looked at the incident with Sebastian and Lewis and I think it needs to be respected.

“Sometimes decisions go against you, and sometimes they go in your favour. A decision like this is never black and white and everyone will have different opinions on this and of course I respect that.”

Despite the fuss around the penalty and its implications, Wolff admits the Canadian Grand Prix was amongst Mercedes’ most difficult weekend’s of 2019 so far, with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both having tough spells and mechanical issues at various points.

Hamilton hit the wall in practice on Friday and suffered a worrying hydraulic leak just ahead of the race, while Bottas suffered a fuel pressure issue on Friday and a spin during Qualifying on Saturday that left him out of position on the grid and with a lot of work to do in a car that was on the verge of overheating.

“We’ve had one of the most difficult weekends this year,” admitted Wolff.  “We’ve had to overcome some challenges this weekend like a fuel pressure issue on Valtteri’s car on Friday and a hydraulic leak on Lewis’ car this morning which required rebuilding almost the entire car.

“We were not even sure that we’d make it to the race or whether the car would finish. And all this is happening behind the scenes, so I can only congratulate the team for their incredible efforts this weekend to be competitive and of course Lewis for what was a fantastic drive which in the end got us the victory.

“Valtteri had a trickier day in the office, starting P6 and struggling with overheating issues. His race was lost in qualifying yesterday, so coming home fourth and getting the additional point for the fastest lap was damage limitation.”

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