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Toto Wolff

Wolff shares view on Hamilton sprint pole-denying call

Toto Wolff has given his opinion on the FIA decision to reinstate Lando Norris' pole-clinching lap time, to the detriment of Lewis Hamilton, who will line-up for the Chinese Grand Prix sprint alongside the McLaren.

Wolff China SQ
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Toto Wolff has had his say on the call made by the FIA to reinstate Lando Norris' lap time in the final moments of sprint qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Had the original decision stood, Lewis Hamilton would have claimed pole position for the sprint. However, his team principal at Mercedes ultimately thinks the right outcome was reached, even if it was at the expense of his team and driver.

“I haven’t seen the data, I’ve just seen he [Lando Norris] had four tyres off track," Wolff explained to Sky Sports.

"But honestly, that [lap] was even slower, so he probably could have gone faster – so I’m okay with that.”

Given the dominance of Red Bull in qualifying this year and Ferrari's strong one-lap pace, the changeable conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit allowed both Mercedes and McLaren to form an unlikely front-row - something the 52-year-old spoke to.

“I think, obviously, driving is most important in the wet, but it shows it’s about tyre preparation," Wolff explained before adding: "We did the right thing on the final run. The tyres were in the sweet spot, combined with a great drive – that made the time.”

Mercedes against McLaren

Looking ahead to the sprint, Wolff believes that despite beating Red Bull in the weather-affected qualifying, his team is no match for the champions in the dry.

Max Verstappen will line-up directly behind Hamilton in fourth, but the central focus will remain bettering the McLaren of Norris.

“I think we should have the pace in the dry [to beat the McLaren]. I don’t think we have the pace against the Red Bulls, but we are, I think, against the McLarens," said the Austrian.

"But having said that, it’s also we don’t know, because we have no data from FP1. It could be they are much quicker too, or the other way around.”

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