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Mercedes boss Wolff warns Red Bull: "The gloves are off!"

Mercedes boss Wolff warns Red Bull: "The gloves are off!"

Mercedes boss Wolff warns Red Bull: "The gloves are off!"

Mercedes boss Wolff warns Red Bull: "The gloves are off!"
Ian Parkes & Paul Macdonald

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has sent a clear message to Red Bull that "the gloves are off" after the team launched numerous protests during the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix weekend.

On Sunday morning, Red Bull officially launched a protest against the decision not to punish Lewis Hamilton for ignoring yellow flags during qualifying.

Officials reviewed the incident using evidence from Red Bull and, 41 minutes before the start of the race, Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty dropping him from second to fifth.

The six-time F1 champion was then given a five-second penalty during the race itself for an incident involving Red Bull's Alex Albon in the closing stages, resulting in him being classified fourth after crossing the line second behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

All this followed Red Bull's protest on Friday against Mercedes' DAS system, one that was eventually thrown out by the stewards.

After the race, Wolff explained he viewed the penalty handed to Hamilton as "harsh" and, when asked about the challenge of Red Bull both on and off the track in the season ahead, sent a very clear message.

Wolff said: "I thought the protest on Friday was actually fair play, but not on Sunday. Coming back on Sunday morning, turning around a decision from yesterday, if you have new evidence, that is what the rules allow, you have to take that on the chin.

"I think that in the race - putting all these things together - in the race the penalty was too harsh.

"But coming back to your question - the gloves are off."

Wolff also expressed his concern over the reliability the Mercedes W11, both of which suffered sensor problems during the race, but was keen to add that he felt the Red Bull Ring circuit had a clear part to play.

"I think the reliability issues here come from the kerbs. It's a great track, but if you run the kerbs too wide, which is within the rules, you damage your suspension," added Wolff.

"So it is a permanent evaluation of the driver, how quickly you want to go, how much you want to ride the kerbs. By their nature they want to go as quick as possible and if you do that you risk suspension damage or vibrations to the car that can break it."

Before you go...

Hamilton thanks the 13 F1 drivers who took a knee before race in Austria

Vettel has little confidence in this year's Ferrari

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