Toto Wolff reveals Hamilton and Rosberg’s Belgium tension
Lewis Hamilton has had a fantastic 2014, after winning his second Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship and surprisingly snatching the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, ahead of Rory McIlroy.
However, it was not all plain sailing and pleasant for the Brit (odds-on at 8/13 to defend his title in 2015), who had a public spat with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg (5/2), particularly at the Belgium Grand Prix.
Their constructor boss, Toto Wolff, has spoken out about his frustrations towards his quarrelling drivers, as the German seemingly crashed into Hamilton deliberately on the second lap at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“The anger wasn’t particularly on Nico, the anger was on the whole situation,” said Wolff, whose Mercedes team won the Constructors’ Championship convincingly in the end.
“Every single weekend we had new challenges, every single weekend we needed to mediate between the drivers, every single weekend we needed to judge and spend time on how to balance things out. It came to point where I felt I had had enough. I had had enough, my job is not to always make sure that both felt okay and that was for me the end.
However, he claimed the crash was a blessing in disguise, adding: “It needed to end and therefore in hindsight Spa was a very important step and milestone for the team because it ended there.
“We never had any controversy afterwards, it was very competitive, it was not always easy, it was still challenging, but we understood that there was a great battle between the two and that harmony was not a feeling we could expect from the two of them and we didn’t.
“But we didn’t have a situation again that was detrimental to the team and was disrespectful to the team, because we were working our balls off to deliver a car that was able to win the World Championship and you don’t throw races away like we did at Spa.
“We spent a lot of time analysing with the two sides of the garage what had happened and agreeing that we wouldn’t want that to happen again,” he continued. “We went out of these meetings with very good spirits – different from before. We had cleared the air.
“In order to reconcile, in order to succeed, we said ‘give us a couple of days’. We needed to decide how we wanted to continue and that was very important for the team and for the drivers to see that that was the priority for the team.
“Then we saw each other at the end of the week and discussed things and went out respecting each other and reminding each other what the rules of engagement were and reminding each how we wanted to continue and what the targets were. The targets were to win the first ever Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes and to win the Drivers’ Championship in a way we could be proud of.”
And in the end they did, with Hamilton and Rosberg even showing respect towards each other after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, where the Englishman finished top of the podium once more.
Mercedes are odds-on at 1/5 to win the Constructors’ Championship next season (that starts in March 15th at the Australian GP again) too. Their nearest challengers will seemingly be McLaren (7/1), who just re-recruited Fernando Alonso and retained fellow former world champion Jenson Button.