Mercedes' Communication "Wrong" with Lewis Hamilton, Wolff Admits After Monaco GP

“So the message he got was at best confusing, but probably wrong."

by Sead Dedovic
Mercedes' Communication "Wrong" with Lewis Hamilton, Wolff Admits After Monaco GP
© Lars Baron/Getty Images Sport

The race in Monaco brought many unpredictabilities and outcomes we didn't expect. Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, in a conversation with the media, reflected on the race, explaining where the problem arose for his team. Lewis Hamilton was one of the drivers who decided to make a pit stop. 

The Briton attempted to overtake Max Verstappen but remained behind the 26-year-old driver after Red Bull pitted a lap later. The Briton was disappointed with his crew, believing they should have told him to catch up with the pace and speed up earlier. Toto Wolff admitted that the communication between them and Hamilton was not ideal.

“There was a miscommunication first between us on the pitwall that we got that wrong,” Wolff said, as quoted by Crash.

“It should have been ‘out-lap’ critical, trying to undercut. But then there was a debate whether any out-lap would be enough from the new tyre."

The Mercedes boss admitted that his team made a mistake, considering that the message sent to Hamilton was confusing, deeming it a team error. Mercedes will have to improve various aspects in the upcoming races if they want to be competitive and lead the way at the top. This kind of situation cannot suit them, from any perspective.

“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 tyre in a single lap, then that would happen later.

But in summary wrong message to Lewis, this was the team’s fault.”- he continued.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Wolff explained that the relationship between Hamilton, who will join Ferrari next season, and the team is being managed carefully. They are aiming to maximize their results for this final season together. He mentioned that tensions can arise between drivers and teams in such situations, as everyone is striving to perform at their best. 

Hamilton has repeatedly emphasized that his move to Ferrari will not change his mindset for this season, intending to assist Mercedes in achieving their set goals. It must be acknowledged that things haven't been going ideally for this German team since last season. 

Nevertheless, Mercedes' leaders maintain hope and optimism that things could look different. Wolff is a realistic person, ready to criticize himself, his team, and even the drivers if he realizes there is a mistake. He is someone who holds tremendous respect for Hamilton, considering the length of their collaboration and friendship.

When asked about Hamilton's potential concerns regarding his treatment at Mercedes, Wolff addressed the common skepticism among drivers. He emphasized the team's commitment to maintaining fairness and transparency, even in intense competition between teammates.  Although some believe that Hamilton receives preferential treatment compared to his teammate, George Russell, it appears that Mercedes leaders still strive to provide them with equal treatment.

Wolff mentioned that apart from a specific incident in 2016, the team hasn't engaged in any strategic manipulation since then. However, he stressed that drivers naturally desire the best performance from themselves and the team, and sometimes challenges can lead to questioning. Nonetheless, Wolff reassured that the team's primary focus is providing both drivers with the best cars, strategies, and support possible.

This is also the only way to progress and achieve great results. The Mercedes boss emphasized even before the start of this season that Hamilton and Russell possess the necessary qualities, but Mercedes must ensure they have a car capable of reaching their goal. This sentiment has been evident for several seasons, especially when the Briton was leading the charge. 

He had a car that could rival the competition, leading to multiple championships. 

Can Mercedes change things in the near future?

The current situation is not particularly ideal, likely one of the reasons Hamilton has turned a new leaf in his career and will join Ferrari from next season onwards. 

Toto Wolff hopes that Mercedes can progress throughout the season, considering the gap between the top three teams, all achieving impressive results. Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren appear quite more dominant than others, raising questions about who will win the championship this season. Of course, Red Bull is the favorite, but after the last few races, there are increasing doubts about their success.

After everything, Mercedes fans don't really have much faith that things will change, at least not this season. Hamilton and Russell are trying to change something weekend after weekend, but without success. Some have already shifted their focus to the next season, believing it could be a turning point for this team. We'll see what the future holds.

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton