Formula 1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We are not happy that points have been awarded”

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Credit: LAT Images

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team will ‘take it on the chin’ that points were awarded in the rain-affected Belgian Grand Prix despite no racing laps being run under green flag conditions on Sunday.

The Qualifying result on Saturday that set the grid basically confirmed the points scorers on Sunday afternoon as only a handful of laps were run completely behind the safety car, with the only exception being Sergio Pérez falling to the back of the field after crashing on his way to the grid.

This meant that Lewis Hamilton was unable to better third and Valtteri Bottas twelfth, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing scoring points for victory, and George Russell and Williams Racing taking the points for second place.  Only half points were rewarded as less than seventy-five per cent of the race was completed.

However Wolff, the Team Principal of Mercedes, says conditions were too dangerous to allow racing to happen, and the team will take losing points to Red Bull on the chin even though they were unable to do anything about their positions due to the safety car.

“I really want to take my hat off to all the fans who were here with us over the weekend, in the wet and the cold,” said Wolff.  “And particularly during this afternoon, spending hours waiting for the race to start.

“It’s great to see their enthusiasm and passion, it’s just what the sport needs. We are all racers and we want to race, but today it just wasn’t possible. It would have been too dangerous to let the drivers race because of a total lack of visibility.

“In terms of the race result, of course we are not happy that points have been awarded for what was a few laps behind the Safety Car but if the regulations allow that, you have to take it on the chin and move on.

“Now, we are looking forward to Zandvoort, to hopefully score some big points and continue this fight for the Championship.”

“It’s also not a good feeling, losing ground in both Championships” – Andrew Shovlin

Andrew Shovlin, the Track Engineering Director at Mercedes, was equally frustrated not to see any racing at Spa-Francorchamps, and he says it is ‘not a good feeling’ to lose points in both championships as a result.

Shovlin says the conditions were not safe enough to race in so the officials got it right not to let the drivers race under green flag conditions, but Mercedes will be rueing the fact that Red Bull were able to gain ground on them in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.

“Obviously, we’re all feeling frustrated to come here and not get to race, and I’m sure the fans feel that frustration even more,” said Shovlin.  “It’s also not a good feeling, losing ground in both Championships.

“But ultimately, the conditions were not safe to race in. There was a lot of standing water and visibility was very poor. The decisions in Race Control are difficult ones on days like today, but there was no break in the rain, so it was correct not to continue with the race.

“We’ll quickly switch our focus to Zandvoort and hopefully the weather will be better there!”

Valtteri Bottas finished twelfth in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix – Credit: Jiri Krenek
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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