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Toto Wolff

Wolff addresses latest Hamilton Verstappen scrap

The former title rivals came close again in British Grand Prix qualifying.

Verstappen Hamilton
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To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has insisted the Formula 1 latest near-miss between rivals Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen was "modus operandi".

The 2021 title rivals came close to contact during qualifying for the British Grand Prix as they prepared to set competitive lap times on a drying Silverstone track.

Hamilton was caught weaving to warm up his Soft tyres, with Verstappen eager to get ahead and secure better track position, narrowly squeezing his way through.

The situation was not investigated by the FIA race stewards but followed a similar squabble in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, where Hamilton initially blocked Verstappen into the final corner at the Red Bull Ring, only for the Dutchman to cut the Mercedes driver up into Turn 1 and ruin his lap.

Wolff labelled that move a "revenge foul" at the time, but speaking to media including RacingNews365.com, he suggested: "This was normal modus operandi.

"You try to have good prep and track position, the clock is ticking down, you want to make sure you get your lap in - that was nothing out of the ordinary."

'Racing gods against us'

Mercedes will line up sixth and seventh with George Russell ahead of Hamilton, with the Silver Arrows falling behind McLaren and Ferrari in the pecking order.

But whilst the result was disappointing in front of both drivers' home crowd, less than a tenth separated Russell from third on the grid.

Suggesting the Brackley-based outfit had the capability to out-qualify Ferrari, Wolff added: "We qualified behind the two of them and when we look at the gaps, it was a couple of hundredths up and down.

"The racing god was against us because 'we could have been' [ahead of Ferrari], but could have been doesn't count in this sport.

"We just have to keep the pace up in development and in our learning and understanding."

F1 2023 British Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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