Toto Wolff reveals Mercedes feelings on Red Bull after ‘brutal’ F1 finale

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff insists he has no “bad words” for rivals Red Bull following Max Verstappen’s controversial Formula One world championship victory over Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff’s rivalry with Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner heated up over the closing stages of the season as Verstappen and Hamilton battled for the world title.

And emotions spilled over in the aftermath of the dramatic season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Verstappen beat Hamilton to the championship on the final lap of the season after benefitting from some controversial decisions from race director Michael Masi.

Wolff blasted Masi’s “unacceptable” decision to allow five cars to un-lap themselves following a late safety car, putting Verstappen behind Hamilton on fresh tyres heading into the final lap.

Mercedes protested the race result but eventually withdrew their appeals, with Wolff vowing to work with the FIA to “improve the robustness of the rules, governance and decision-making in Formula One.” Horner claimed Mercedes’ initial protest had been “desperate” as he welcomed the championship.

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Despite his team being on the wrong end of a “brutal result”, Wolff said that the dramatic end to the season will “bind” Mercedes and Red Bull together, and says the rival teams will work on improving the sport moving forwards.

“The statements [after Abu Dhabi protest] at me certainly arose from the emotion,” Wolff told reporters. “I can understand that when you have won the race and therefore the title, a protest can be frustrating.

“I have no bad word at all against Christian, Helmut, Red Bull or Max. They were worthy competitors this year. We fought like never before, on and off the track, but in the end they won the championship and that has to be acknowledged.

“I think that it also binds us stronger together in the future. Because we may have lost the championship with the Abu Dhabi decision, but Helmut, Christian and Max are racers and we saw what happened.

“And of course there are the explanations that similar things happened against them in the season. Maybe it balances out, maybe not. But just the one decision in Abu Dhabi was so brutal, the racer in them will recognise that. I know that.

“Together I think we can change the rules to make the decision making more conscious and that’s in the interest of us, Red Bull and all the other teams.”

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