Toto Wolff jumps to Max Verstappen’s defence and disagrees with Lewis Hamilton theory

Toto Wolff has taken the side of Max Verstappen as the fallout from his Austrian Grand Prix crash continues.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

Toto Wolff has backed Max Verstappen after the crash in Austria (Image: Getty)

Toto Wolff has disagreed with Andrea Stella’s theory that Max Verstappen’s clash with Lando Norris at the Austrian Grand Prix was linked with his extreme defending against Lewis Hamilton during the 2021 title fight.

Hamilton and Verstappen shared a battle for the ages in 2021 but there were countless instances of overly-aggressive moves, the majority of which came from the Red Bull driver. The Dutchman arguably overstepped the mark in Imola, Jeddah, Monza and Sao Paulo, but wasn’t always punished for his involvement.

Since 2021, Verstappen has largely had things his own way, but with Norris and McLaren now applying the pressure, cracks have reappeared. The three-time world champion collided with his rival in Austria on Sunday, picking up a 10-second time penalty and giving both cars punctures.

After the race, McLaren team principal Stella was furious, and he didn’t mince his words in a chat with Sky Sports F1. “The entire population of the world would know who is responsible, except for a group of people.” he fumed. “But the problem behind it is that if you don’t address these things honestly, they will come back.

“They have come back today because they were not addressed properly in the past where there were fights with Lewis that needed to be punished in a harsher way. You learn how to race in a certain way, which we can consider fair and square.

Don’t miss… Helmut Marko gives Norris and Verstappen crash verdict as blame dished out

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F1 Grand Prix of Austria

Max Verstappen earned plenty of criticism for his move on Lando Norris (Image: Getty)

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“[There have been] many episodes. The fact is that we have so much respect for Red Bull, so much respect for Max. They don’t need to do this. They don’t need to do this as a way to almost compromise your reputation. Why would you do that?”

However, Wolff does not agree with his fellow team principal’s theory and instead jumped to the defence of the three-time world champion, who he has been looking to lure to Brackley next season as a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Hamilton.

“I don’t think you can take this conclusion,” he explained. “It’s been so long and from our side. We are in a different place today, and I think he is. It takes two to tango. I haven’t seen Lando and Max’s race to be honest.

“I haven’t seen how all of that came about. I first need to watch it before I have an opinion but I wouldn’t see that as a big consequence of 2021 not having been managed well to what happened in 2024. I don’t think they have a correlation.”

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