Toto Wolff takes blame for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg feud

The Independent
The Independent

Toto Wolff admits his past experience handling Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s rivalry will mean he can “manage much better” the upcoming relationship between the world champion and George Russell .

The Mercedes principal has already confirmed his intention to “condition and calibrate” Russell when he replaces Valtteri Bottas in 2022.

But there are also shades of the internal rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg from 2013-16.

Russell is just 23 and will bring youth and a fearless attitude in pursuit of victory ahead of Hamilton, with Wolff admitting a title in his first season with the team is possible.

But Wolff also maintains lessons have been learned, while conceding that Hamilton and Rosberg’s relationship was “not managed properly”.

“I think we as a team can manage it much better now than maybe back then, when we slid into the unknown,” Wolff told , reflecting on the last couple of years before Rosberg retired as World Champion at the end of 2016.

“The dynamic between George and Lewis will be completely different. You’ve got the wizard and the sorcerer’s apprentice and I think they are both aware of that division of roles.

“I have to put that on myself. But I was quite virginal in the role then. It’s different today. I didn’t know the past of the two drivers and maybe with the team then I didn’t react robustly enough to avoid these things.

“But Nico was also in a completely different situation to George. Nico was in the middle of his career, had been with Mercedes for six years in 2016, came earlier [to Mercedes] than Lewis. That’s why the dynamic was different.

“With Lewis, we have a driver who has now been at Mercedes for eight years, has a great career and is still in the middle of setting more records. And on the other hand, we have a young, up-and-coming talent who keeps putting in extraordinary performances like at Sochi and Spa in the rain.”

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