Wolff Takes Blame For Sending Confusing Message To Hamilton

Monday, 27 May 2024 at 16:00
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Toto Wolff took the blame for a strategic mistake with Lewis Hamilton during the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix that was also called a "rookie error" by multiple experts.
Triple World Champion Max Verstappen was in a Mercedes send-off going into the eighth round of the season at Circuit de Monaco.
The Flying Dutchman started the race from P6, with George Russell ahead of him and Lewis Hamilton right behind. This trio had a race of their own as they had a sizeable gap to a group of four cars in the front and also all the remaining cars in the back.
On lap 52, Mercedes called Lewis Hamilton in for a pit stop, which would put him on fresher tires and perhaps give him a chance to attack Verstappen.
However, that also opened up a gap for the Dutchman to pitstop on the next lap. Ultimately, the Dutchman went for the pit stop, and when he exited the pit lane, he found himself with Hamilton still behind.
This meant that Mercedes failed to undercut Verstappen and allowed him to attack Russell with fresher tires. The seven-time World Champion then went on the radio and asked his team, "Why didn't you tell me out-lap was critical?"
This message seemed strange from the 39-year-old driver for whom it should have been obvious he was supposed to push on the out-lap, according to Jolyon Palmer (former F1 driver), who said: "Lewis isn't a rookie, but that was a rookie error."
Speaking to GP Racing after the Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff defended Hamilton, saying the problem was miscommunication between the team and the driver.

"That was a miscommunication first between us on the pit-wall that we got that wrong. It should have been an 'out-lap critical.'"

The message that the 39-year-old Mercedes driver received was: "Outlap normal, but lap time should just come to you." Wolff also explained why there was confusion in the message:

"But then there was a debate whether any out-lap would be enough from the new tire, and so the message he got was at best confusing but probably wrong."

"It should have been an 'out-lap critical' and the worry in the background was that if we thrashed that tire in a single lap then what would happen later? But in summary: wrong message to Lewis, this was the team's fault."