While Max Verstappen will be aiming for a third consecutive Formula 1 victory this weekend in Barcelona, Wolff is aware of comments made in the media regarding Lewis Hamilton being (so far) soundly beaten by younger team mate George Russell, and has in effect lost his number 1 status within the team.
It is certainly fair to say that the 24 year old Russell, who replaced Valtteri Bottas at the end of last season, has been far more competitive than seven time world champion Hamilton who is clearly struggling driving the 2022 F1 car from Mercedes.
F1 drivers of yesterday, now turned TV pundits, claim that Hamilton has more or less been relegated to number 2 status within Mercedes. At present, Toto Wolff seemingly remains loyal to Hamilton.
“I don’t follow the comments of Ralf or Jacques,” Wolff replied.
“When I hear one or two comments, I can only smile. George is doing a good job, yes, but that’s what we expected from him, that’s why he is in a Mercedes.”
Wolff seems to wish to deflect the discussion away from the ongoing distraction Hamilton has with the FIA and its president over the enforcement to remove all jewellery from within the cockpit whilst on track. For Wolff, this is not a distraction saying:
“Within the team, there is nothing that reflects these outside noises, these comments made for the press. Lewis and George just push each other, that’s all.”