MONZA, BALIPOST.com – Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he thought Charles Leclerc’s controversial block on Lewis Hamilton en route to winning the Italian Grand Prix was “over the line”, but admitted the stewards would have needed “a police escort” to leave Monza on Sunday if they had penalised the Ferrari driver.
The Mercedes team chief made clear he was unhappy with the officials’ decisions, but accepted them, after Leclerc gave Ferrari a first home victory since 2010.
Defending world champion Hamilton finished third behind Leclerc and teammate Valtteri Bottas after twice taking evasive action to avoid a crash as the young Monegasque blocked him at the second chicane and the Curva Grande.
The stewards took note and issued a black-and-white warning flag to the Ferrari driver, a move that allowed him to run unpenalised to the chequered flag and Italian euphoria.
“They are in such a difficult position, a very difficult one,” said Wolff. “To come up with the right decisions –- they are not always clear-cut -– and right now I have enough of my own problems to solve.
“I don’t want to have (race director) Michael Masi’s problems on top of that.
“But the racing was very hard, maybe over the line and Lewis was instrumental in not making it into an incident.
“At the end of the day, what can you do? To give a Ferrari, leading at Monza, a five-second penalty? That’s out of the question because then you’d need a police escort to get out of here!”
Wolff also criticised the way in which more aggressive and dangerous racing had been permitted to creep back into the sport in recent months.
“There are more cars touching, there will be more -– it will be more of a common practice,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s going to go the point where it will end up again in a collision –- and then we have to bail out of it again or crawl back. (AFP)