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Wolff responds to Hamilton’s comments about Russell qualifying ahead of him

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Toto Wolff has given his take on outgoing Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton downplaying his qualifying chances against team mate George Russell over the course of the 2024 season.

After Russell made it 7-1 in their one-lap head-to-head for the season so far at the Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton implied that his younger colleague is likely to come out on top more often than not going forward.

READ MORE: Hamilton not expecting to out-qualify Russell for rest of 2024 as he explains ‘frustrating’ Saturday struggles in Monaco

“I don’t anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying particularly this year, but we’ve just got to keep pushing, and the races are strong,” Hamilton said, while pointing to upgrades Russell had been given.

It comes as Hamilton gets set to leave the Silver Arrows at the end of the campaign, with the seven-time champion having agreed to join Ferrari from 2025 on a multi-year deal.

Asked what Hamilton meant by his comments, and whether there is any paranoia creeping in, Mercedes boss Wolff commented: “All drivers [are] a bit sceptical at times.

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Russell has out-qualified Hamilton 7-1 so far this season

“I think as a team, we’ve demonstrated that even in the most tense competitions between team mates, we are trying to always balance it right and be transparent and fair.

“I can understand as a driver, you want the best out of yourself and the team, [and] sometimes when it’s going against you, you can question it.

READ MORE: Russell explains why he was confident of a podium or ‘even victory’ prior to red flag in Monaco

“As a team we are 100 per cent on a mission of giving the two drivers two great cars, the best possible cars, and the best possible strategies and support.”

Wolff also had his say on the late-race radio tension between Hamilton and the Mercedes pit wall in Monte Carlo, with the Briton frustrated at not being told to push sooner in his quest to undercut Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

Hamilton had pitted from seventh in the closing stages of the race, swapping medium tyres for hards, with sixth-placed Verstappen responding a lap later – and their positions remained unchanged.

Race Highlights: 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

“That was a miscommunication first between us on the pit wall,” Wolff commented. “We got that wrong, it should have been an ‘out-lap critical’ [message] in trying to undercut.

“Then there was a debate whether any out-lap would be enough on the new tyre, so the message he got was at best confusing, but probably wrong. It should have been an ‘out-lap critical’.

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“The worry in the background was that if we stretched the tyre in a single lap, then what would happen later? But in summary it was the wrong message to Lewis, and was the team’s fault.”

Pushed on how relations are between Hamilton and the team as they prepare to part ways, Wolff added: “We’re trying to do the best out of the relationship. We’re trying to maximise the results for what is the final season [together].

“That, you know, like always between drivers and teams, can be tense at times, because everybody wants to do their best.”

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