Toto Wolff hints at Mercedes team orders in Monza sprint race

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ESPN 10 September, 2021 - 02:00pm

What is Sprint Qualifying f1?

Sprint Qualifying is actually a race that determines the starting grid for Sunday's grand prix, lasting 60 miles instead of the usual 190 miles. That equates to 18 laps at Monza, lasting around 25-30 minutes. It follows the same rules and regulations as the longer race on a Sunday. Sunday Times DrivingF1’s new Sprint Qualifying format explained

Wolff hints at Mercedes team orders in Monza sprint race

Formula 1 RSS UK 10 September, 2021 - 01:53pm

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MONZA, Italy -- Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas will be expected to hand victory to Lewis Hamilton at Saturday's Italian Grand Prix sprint race if he is still leading his teammate towards the end of the 18-lap race.

After setting the fastest time in Friday qualifying, Bottas will start ahead of Hamilton in the sprint race, which will then determine the grid for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix and give out three points to the winner, two to second place and one point for third.

However, Bottas, who is no longer in contention for this year's title, is set to receive a grid penalty for Sunday's race regardless of where he finishes after Mercedes made a "tactical" decision to fit his car with a fresh engine, taking his quota for the year beyond the allotted three.

The situation is further complicated by news this week that Bottas will be replaced at the team by George Russell next year, but Wolff said he would still use team orders if needed to give Hamilton maximum points from the sprint race.

"It's difficult generally when you have to call team orders, because all of us are racers and we don't want to see that," Wolff told Sky Sports. "He should be where he is on merit.

"But in any case, Valtteri is going anyway all the way to the back on Sunday. So we need to see how the start pans out because there is not too much to discuss, just be careful in the first corner and then see where they are."

However, in a separate interview Bottas seemed to suggest he would go for maximum points in the sprint race regardless of the situation behind him.

"Of course, starting from the front, I'm expecting to get the maximum points tomorrow and then do the best job we can on Sunday," he said. "The weekend started nicely and I'm happy."

Toto Wolff: 'In the intercom we said, it's as beautiful as in the old days'

GPblog 10 September, 2021 - 12:40pm

He expressed his happiness at the great performance from both his drivers, "in the intercom we said it's as beautiful as in the old days, to get reminded again!"

Wolff, however, went on to add that it's not over yet and it is important to have a good performance tomorrow and on Sunday. "It depends on if you see the world from a half-full glass or a half-empty. We are half-empty and it's a solid advantage. We can be happy with that. The critical part is trying to perform each and every weekend and not having any DNF's."

When asked about team orders potentially being used to help Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship, Wolff finished by stating, "it's difficult generally when you have to call team orders because we are all racers and he is here on merit. It'll come down to being careful in the first corner and seeing how it pans out."

After losing out to Max Verstappen and Red Bull at his home race in Zandvoort, the Mercedes team principal was questioned about whether Monza and Russia are the team's chances to fight back against the Austrian team. "I think we are looking okay. We weren't there in Zandvoort but it was the Max factor also there. It was his home race in front of his home crowd but let's see how it pans out here and in Russia," Wolff told the camera.

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Toto Wolff: 'In the intercom we said, it's as beautiful as in the old days'

GPblog 10 September, 2021 - 12:40pm

He expressed his happiness at the great performance from both his drivers, "in the intercom we said it's as beautiful as in the old days, to get reminded again!"

Wolff, however, went on to add that it's not over yet and it is important to have a good performance tomorrow and on Sunday. "It depends on if you see the world from a half-full glass or a half-empty. We are half-empty and it's a solid advantage. We can be happy with that. The critical part is trying to perform each and every weekend and not having any DNF's."

When asked about team orders potentially being used to help Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship, Wolff finished by stating, "it's difficult generally when you have to call team orders because we are all racers and he is here on merit. It'll come down to being careful in the first corner and seeing how it pans out."

After losing out to Max Verstappen and Red Bull at his home race in Zandvoort, the Mercedes team principal was questioned about whether Monza and Russia are the team's chances to fight back against the Austrian team. "I think we are looking okay. We weren't there in Zandvoort but it was the Max factor also there. It was his home race in front of his home crowd but let's see how it pans out here and in Russia," Wolff told the camera.

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Russell recalls meeting "superhero" Hamilton for the first time

Motorsport.com 10 September, 2021 - 03:35am

Russell has been a member of Mercedes' junior programme since 2017, and has impressed during his time at Williams in F1 over the past three seasons.

The announcement led to pictures emerging on social media of a Russell as a kid meeting Hamilton, who was then racing for McLaren.

In one of the pictures, Russell can be seen waiting to meet Hamilton and get his autograph at a karting event in 2009. Twelve years later, they would be preparing to be F1 teammates.

Asked by Motorsport.com about his first meeting with Hamilton and the picture, Russell recalled how awestruck he was to meet a world champion driver, helping to strengthen his desire to race in F1 one day.

"Lewis turned up to PFI [kart track], I think it was at the Formula Kart Stars, I was racing in Comer Cadet at the time" Russell recalled.

"It was like meeting a superhero, when you are a child of that age, especially a racing driver and you meet a Formula 1 driver, you don't think these people are human. That was a really special moment for me.

"To be honest, I even remember it now, which, it's quite odd to remember a memory back from when you were 11 years old.

"So in a way, it feels pretty surreal to be lining up alongside him next year.

"I guess when I did meet him, that was when I thought I want to be like him, I want to be a Formula 1 driver, and I want to win world championships."

Hamilton felt confident that Russell would be able to bring some fresh energy to Mercedes, being "part of that younger group" of F1 drivers.

"I think the young talent that's coming through is so great for the sport and is the future of the sport," Hamilton said.

"New, fresh blood in our team is going to be great, obviously because I'm the oldie there.

"I think that definitely will energise the whole team knowing they have a new youngster coming through, who's super hungry, driven, and will be pushing the team forward."

Verstappen backs Albon to succeed in "less pressured environment"

Russell recalls meeting "superhero" Hamilton for the first time

GPblog 10 September, 2021 - 03:35am

Russell has been a member of Mercedes' junior programme since 2017, and has impressed during his time at Williams in F1 over the past three seasons.

The announcement led to pictures emerging on social media of a Russell as a kid meeting Hamilton, who was then racing for McLaren.

In one of the pictures, Russell can be seen waiting to meet Hamilton and get his autograph at a karting event in 2009. Twelve years later, they would be preparing to be F1 teammates.

Asked by Motorsport.com about his first meeting with Hamilton and the picture, Russell recalled how awestruck he was to meet a world champion driver, helping to strengthen his desire to race in F1 one day.

"Lewis turned up to PFI [kart track], I think it was at the Formula Kart Stars, I was racing in Comer Cadet at the time" Russell recalled.

"It was like meeting a superhero, when you are a child of that age, especially a racing driver and you meet a Formula 1 driver, you don't think these people are human. That was a really special moment for me.

"To be honest, I even remember it now, which, it's quite odd to remember a memory back from when you were 11 years old.

"So in a way, it feels pretty surreal to be lining up alongside him next year.

"I guess when I did meet him, that was when I thought I want to be like him, I want to be a Formula 1 driver, and I want to win world championships."

Hamilton felt confident that Russell would be able to bring some fresh energy to Mercedes, being "part of that younger group" of F1 drivers.

"I think the young talent that's coming through is so great for the sport and is the future of the sport," Hamilton said.

"New, fresh blood in our team is going to be great, obviously because I'm the oldie there.

"I think that definitely will energise the whole team knowing they have a new youngster coming through, who's super hungry, driven, and will be pushing the team forward."

Verstappen backs Albon to succeed in "less pressured environment"

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