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Horner disagrees with way Wolff “roasts” own F1 team

Wolff could not hide his disappointment after the race in Baku, as he suggested that Mercedes’ showings were ‘unacceptable’ if it wanted to fight Red Bull for the title.

He was clear that the Brackley-based squad was under-delivering and that everyone in the team – including himself – needed to lift their game.

“It is not only the incident at the end, that frustrates,” explained Wolff. “It’s overall not meeting our own expectations. All of us together: Lewis [Hamilton], the engineers, myself, everybody in the team.”

Horner said he was surprised about how outspoken Wolff was against his team, on a weekend where the pair got involved in a public war-of-words over the F1’s flexi wing saga.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“I mean, a lot has been made about Toto’s comments this weekend,” explained Horner, who had been called ‘a bit of a windbag’ by Wolff.

“He’s never afraid to roast his team so publicly, which I disagree with. But that’s his prerogative.”

Although Verstappen failed to finish the race in Baku after a tyre blow out, Red Bull was at least able to extend its lead in the constructors’ championship standings thanks to Sergio Perez’s win.

With Red Bull having now held the lead in both title battles for two races, Horner said the focus was simply on ensuring his team did not let any chances slip from its grasp.

“It looked like we’re going to do a bit more damage than we ended up doing, but we’ve just got to grab our opportunities when they present themselves,” he said.

Horner acknowledged that the outside factors, such as the tyre failure that Verstappen suffered, are going to play a decisive role in the campaign.

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“It goes in swings and roundabouts,” he said. “Max could have come out of the weekend putting 10 or 11 points into his championship lap with the fastest lap if it had finished where it was with five to go. So he could have been 15 up.

“He’s still four up, but at one point he was looking like he could be 21 down if Lewis had nicked the victory. So, it’s swings and roundabouts and I think it’s going to do this, while the cars’ performance is so close, throughout this championship.

“That makes it so exciting to be a part of. It just motivates everybody in the team to a whole new energy level.”

Although Verstappen’s retirement meant that Lewis Hamilton did not lose any ground in the F1 championship, Wolff said the nature of his driver’s lock-up at Turn 1 of the restart was not easy to accept.

“It just feels painful,” said Wolff. “You can see we had the win, we had the hand almost close to the trophy, because Max didn’t score.

“It’s just emotion of frustration. It’s just so overwhelming at the moment. What I take away is that we must bring our A-game to fight for this championship. And our car was not there all weekend. Operationally we just need to perform faultlessly and all of us haven’t done that the last two weekends.”

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