Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said that he isn’t concerned about several incidents between the team’s drivers during his absence at the Japanese GP and Qatar GP.
Wolff missed the two races due to a knee operation, and there were some tensions between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at both races, first in Suzuka over team orders in the closing stages of the race, and then an early crash in Qatar which took Hamilton out of the race.
The drivers have said there is no bad blood over the incidents, and Wolff said that the team had discussed the issues and put it behind them ahead of the 2023 United States GP.
“Well, there were some, let’s say unpleasant situations that we have talked about,” Wolff told media in Austin.
“Lots of points that we left on the table, but there is nobody more aware than the drivers and sometimes you need these moments to recalibrate and recondition and avoid similar situations in the future but they’re racing drivers, they compete hard.
“Your first competitor is your teammate and therefore I see it with a relatively relaxed stance, and I’m back.”
No sudden improvements
Mercedes have brought a new floor with them to Austin as they bid to close the gap to Red Bull and Max Verstappen at the front of the pack at a track where they are slated to be competitive.
However, Wolff said that the upgrades had not suddenly transformed the performance of the car, despite Hamilton putting in a time good enough for third in the only practice session ahead of qualifying for the grand prix.
“The laptime was competitive that Lewis was able to to post, but it’s not like that the car is suddenly super fast,” Wolff said.
“There is in certain areas he feels more comfortable. And George on the other side didn’t wasn’t satisfied with how the car was going for him.”