15 Jul, 2017
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F1 British GP: Questioning Hamilton’s London Live absence an ‘insult’ - Wolff

"He took a decision for his championship and the way he is being treated in certain media is wrong and not fair..."

F1 British GP: Questioning Hamilton’s London Live absence an ‘insult’ - Wolff
F1 British GP: Questioning Hamilton’s London Live absence an ‘insult’ - Wolff
Click here for full British Grand Prix Qualifying Results from Silverstone

Toto Wolff has hit back at those criticising Lewis Hamilton for missing the F1 London Live event ahead of the British Grand Prix, saying it is an 'insult' to question his motivations.

The three-time world champion raised eyebrows as the only driver to skip the London event – the largest of its kind to have been put on by the sport -, instead preferring to spend two days in Greece with friends before travelling to Silverstone.

Justifying the absence as merely his way of preparing for his home race, where he is bidding for a fifth British Grand Prix, his Mercedes team boss Wolff came out to defend his driver after he received a grilling from the media.

“He took a decision for his championship and the way he is being treated in certain media is wrong and not fair. Before his first race in Silverstone after a rough weekend in Austria with the penalty and after a rough weekend in Baku losing a race, treating the local superstar and hero in that way is absolutely against how I see things.”

“The one that mentioned 19 drivers were there and not all was Christian Horner. Christian is always trying to put a little bit of mischief into the situation and fair enough. There were three boos out of 20,000 people that were in front of me. No more. I was there and I saw it. If you ask the question in the right way and the superstar is not here, of course people are not happy. I wouldn't be happy if I go there and the guy I was trying to see is not there.

“Questioning whether a three-time world champion, who has just broken Ayrton Senna's record and is going to beat Schumacher's record, doesn't understand how he should prepare himself is an insult.

“This is how I operate the team, I give him freedom to organise his days the way he wants. And if he feels that staying away from a Formula One environment, being with his friends helps him to overcome what has been hard weekends in the past and helps him to extract performance in Silverstone, then so be it.”

Indeed, Wolff says there is no 'backlash' against Hamilton based on the rapturous reception he received for his pole position.

“I don't see that there is a big backlash. It is the only country where people are cheering when he sets best sector times. I am hidden in the back of the garage and I can hear the crowds in the grandstands applauding and screaming when he sets a purple sector time, so he has the backing. We need to be careful that we are not making something bigger than it is.

“He has a huge following, the largest following in F1 and the people that have come to Silverstone love him, but like many other superstars they polarise. And there will be some that like him and some that don't like him. For him it's the most important to be in a happy place and perform well on track.

“When you are so exposed to the media and everything you do is being scrutinised, you need to reflect on what's important for you and home crowd is probably most important. But there is so much he does that is not visible that I must honestly say that we need to give him a certain credit.”


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