Hamilton remained furious after Mercedes opted to stop him using old mediums at Zandvoort’s latest safety car, which left him exposed to Max Verstappen behind him who had stopped for new softs.
The situation had changed again against Hamilton when his teammate George Russell, who had initially been behind him and could have acted as a buffer for Verstappen, was also arrested for new softs.
After being unable to hold off Verstappen on the restart and then falling into the clutches of Russell, Hamilton let go of his team.
“I can’t believe you fucked me up, man,” he said on team radio. “I can’t tell you how pissed off I am right now.”
Hamilton then apologized for speaking to the team in this way, as he said the emotions of the situation got to him.
But Wolff brushed off the existence of a problem with the way Hamilton reacted, as he said teams need to understand that it is inevitable that drivers will have to express their feelings when things go wrong.
“You get emotional, so do I in the race,” Wolff said. “And when you’re the driver in the car, it comes from you. You can’t even stop it.
“We are the trash, the vomit bag on the plane, and we take it all because we need it. That’s how it’s always been in a relationship between a frustrated pilot and the pit wall.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Wolff said things settled down quickly with Hamilton after the race as they went through the strategic choices and explained why the team felt playing for the win was better than simply accepting a guaranteed second place.
“We sat down together; and we discussed race strategy,” he said. “It’s something that this morning we decided to take a risk.
“It really backfired. I think overall, the circumstances, I think having Max behind him and things like that was totally unpleasant. But there are more positives to take in. And that’s what we also talked about: that the car is faster.
Wolff also says it’s inevitable that when a team splits their strategy because they’re not sure which is best, the driver on the losing side will get upset.
“It’s extremely difficult to really make the right judgment and especially if you have two drivers competing there as well.
“We’ve had 10 years of this: one is going to be upset and the other is going to be happy. And those are the swings that we have to, in a way, balance and just recognize that the frustration on one side is always big.
Speaking later about his feelings during the radio conversation, Hamilton said he was triggered by seeing a potential victory snatched away from him.
“I knew then that I had lost it, before the restart, when I knew everyone behind me was on soft tyres,” he said. “I knew that was it. There was no way I was holding them behind me.
“I don’t apologize for my passion because that’s how I’m made and I don’t always succeed. But I’m sorry to my team for what I said, because it was in the heat of the moment.