Wolff feels Hamilton’s pain in Austria

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton

If Lewis Hamilton felt he had a bad day in Austria, then Mercedes AMG Petronas team boss Toto Wolff had a worse one.

Sunday in Spielberg proved to be heart-breaking for the Brackley team, with Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas retiring from the race.

The most important thing is to understand why an error happens, go back to the situation and analyse it. Then, get our minds back to Silverstone and race as good as we can there

Mercedes AMG Petronas team boss Toto Wolff

The double retirement handed the championship lead back to race winner Sebastian Vettel.

“For me, this is the most painful day in my years at Mercedes, worse than Barcelona 2016,” Wolf admitted.

“I had plenty of people coming to see me before the start and saying, ‘this was going to be a walk in the park, one-two, you have the quickest car.’ That is exactly how motor racing can go. It can be very cruel and we had all the cruelty go against us.”

Now Wolff must inspire the team to get things right for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It is the team’s home race and everyone at the Brackley HQ will be keen to get back on track.

Wolff added: “The most important thing is to understand why an error happens, go back to the situation and analyse it. Then, get our minds back to Silverstone and race as good as we can there.”

Wolff also gave his backing to the team’s strategist James Vowles, who admitted it was his mistake not to pit Lewis earlier live on the radio, saying: “For me, James is one of the best ever. It needs guts to come out and, in order to save the best possible result, go out there in front of millions of people and say ‘that was my mistake’.

“We all were in pain about the mistake that we made. James [Vowles] coming on to the radio is the mind-set that we are having.

“We are able to say that we have done a mistake to close the matter and give Lewis piece of mind there is complete acknowledgment of what has gone wrong and it was our mistake in order to make him park the thought.”