Toto Wolff claims Max Verstappen got 'revenge' on Lewis Hamilton in sprint race qualifying
| Last updated
Toto Wolff has claimed that Max Verstappen's 'revenge' on Lewis Hamilton was the reason for the Mercedes driver failing to get out of first qualifying in the sprint race on Saturday.
There may not be much of a rivalry on the track between Verstappen and Hamilton this season but it's unlikely they'll be swapping Christmas cards and wishing each other a good break when it does finish at the end of the year.
Red Bull have been far superior to everyone this year and won every race so far, whilst Mercedes have needed some drastic improvements to their car in recent weeks just to close the gap.
Hamilton certainly caused a stir in his rival's garage when he suggested a rule to slow Red Bull's advantage down, something the current world champion didn't take too kindly too.
Of course fans of the Dutchman might point to the fact that the seven time world champion didn't mind his own Mercedes team being miles ahead of everyone during their eight years of winning the constructors title in-a-row.
Hamilton though was too busy concentrating on the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, especially as he wasn't quite sure on the format.
That may not have helped in him going out in the first qualifying round for Saturday's sprint race, after an incident between him and his rival.
The Brit was preparing for one final attempt to make it into the top 15 and ended up accidentally impeding Verstappen on a flying lap.
The Red Bull driver then overtook Hamilton into the first corner of the following lap but ended up abandoning his attempt later on in the lap.
Speaking after his driver had qualified 18th, Merc team principal Wolff explained how he thought the move from Verstappen was in revenge to being held up moments earlier.
"The mistake happened on our side, the communication between us and Lewis didn’t give him the right information to get out of Max’s way, and no one wants to be in anybody’s way because if you impede, you’re getting penalised," he explained.
"So that was not the aim.
"On the other side, Turn 1 was a revanche [‘revenge’ or ‘retaliation’ in French] for it. You know, it was just to make sure that his lap is ruined.
"So, one was not intentional, the other one was intentional. But who cares?
"At the end we looked at it, is it going to change our race or not?
"But I think they’re going to talk about it in the drivers’ briefing next week."
Verstappen ended up taking his second pole position of the weekend, having qualified for Sunday's race at the front of the grid on Friday.
He had a bit of a battle with teammate Sergio Perez in the sprint race but ended up beating the Mexican into second place as his inevitable stroll to a third title in-a-row continues.