Toto Wolff admits he is “relieved” that the Monaco Grand Prix is over after an emotionally tough week after the death of colleague and friend Niki Lauda, which was followed up by a race which Lewis Hamilton described as one of his hardest ever.
On Tuesday, the legendary Formula 1 driver passed away after battling ill-health for months following a lung transplant last August.
The next race in Monaco took place as a tribute to the Austrian, with a moment of silence on the track featuring ahead of Lights Out.
As for the GP itself, it was a battle for Hamilton, as he had to deal with disintegrating tyres for the majority of the race, with pitting not an option due to the close proximity in behind of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.
After Mercedes losing their non-executive chairman in Lauda, and then Hamilton winning by the skin of his teeth, Wolff says he is happy the race is done and dusted,
“It means a lot, and it couldn’t have been a more dramatic race after the incidents of last week. A world championship drive for a world champion that isn’t among us anymore. With all the drama that we’ve had, I’m relieved it’s over,” the Mercedes team principal confessed,
Hamilton did not hide his frustration at the tyre strategy, but Wolff is fine with his driver venting over team radio if it helps them release pressure, and did admit that hard tyres should have been used.
“I think you just need to accept that the driver needs to have a pressure release valve, and even if it is just talking to us, getting the anger out, that’s completely okay,” he continued.
“We knew the tyre choice was the wrong one, and in hindsight we should have taken the hard. In the end, the driver made the difference.”
Another emotional day is in the offing for Mercedes, as Wolff confirmed the team’s presence at the funeral of Lauda which takes place in his home country.
“We just need to do a good job, as good a job as possible. It was a really hard-fought victory.
“Now, we have a couple of days that are going to be difficult, with Niki’s funeral in Vienna, and then we set the sails for Canada.”
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