Toto Wolff clarified his ‘tactical foul’ comment he made after the F1 Italian GP, as Christian Horner didn’t like the suggestion he made.
After all the Silverstone dramas, the focus now shifts to Monza, where seemingly Mercedes’ Wolff had some statements, while Red Bull’s Horner played the sedate game. In fact, Andrew Shovlin suggested the lack of enthusiasm in blaming Lewis Hamilton from their F1 rivals, could be because they think Max Verstappen had more to be blamed.
Prior to that, Wolff already put down the move as ‘tactical foul’ from Verstappen side – a term which is mostly associated with football. The suggestion from the Austrian was that the Dutchman could have performed the move under desperation to get back.
Just before the move, Verstappen had a massively slow pit stop, which dropped him behind Lando Norris even. A slow stop for Hamilton allowed the Dutchman to be side-by-side the Brit when he exited the pits and immediately, they had the incident at Turn 1-2.
“The stewards are going to decide who is to blame there and if there is one predominantly to blame. I guess, we’ve seen that in the past, but I would say it was a, in football you call it a ‘tactical foul’,” said Wolff. “He [Verstappen] probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race win possibly.”
Horner was then told about the comment from Wolff by the Sky Sports team, which he didn’t like readily. While discussing about both Silverstone and Monza, he stated: “I think it’s a very different incident to Silverstone though and I think that, as I say, I think he earned the right to have a bit more space you know into Turn 2 and contacts happen.
“I’m disappointed that Toto would say it would be a professional foul but I think it’s a racing incident and thankfully nobody was injured. I cant see how possibly you could apportion one blame you know more on one than the other in an incident like that as I say.
“Of Course I’m going to argue on Max’s behalf that he earn more space at Turn 2, but you can understand Lewis probably arguing the other way so I think if you look at it objectively, it’s a 50/50 incident, it’s a racing incident,” summed up Horner.
In his post-race written media session, Wolff was then asked to clarify if he did mean that Verstappen could have done it deliberately. The Austrian clarified that it wasn’t his absolute judgement, but one idea, which could be taken away from this incident.
“I didn’t say he was completely to be blamed or gave an absolute judgement on the incident, what I said is one could see it as a tactical foul with the bias each of us needs to acknowledge,” said Wolff. “We will have situations in the future where one lose the position and the only way to stopping the race or stopping the other one from scoring is take the other one out.
“So, both of them needs to leave space for each other, race each other hard but avoid accidents because it was good fun until now but we have seen a halo that saved Lewis’ life and Max had his heavy impact in Silverstone and we don’t want to come to a situation to intervene where somebody gets really hurt,” summed up Wolff.
Here’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris defending Red Bull/Mercedes
Here’s Toto Wolff/Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner/Max Verstappen’s views