Toto Wolff launches staunch defence of Lewis Hamilton following parade snub

15 July 2017 06:39

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said it is insulting to question Lewis Hamilton's controversial decision to miss Wednesday night's promotional event in London.

Hamilton, who will start tomorrow's British Grand Prix from pole position, was the sole absentee from this year's field of 20 drivers after he chose to holiday with friends on the Greek island of Mykonos.

Hamilton faced a backlash from Formula One fans following his move to dodge the event after 100,000 people descended on the capital to watch F1 cars run along Whitehall from Trafalgar Square.

Many of those in attendance would have hoped to see Britain's triple world champion in action. Indeed Hamilton's name was subjected to a number of boos by the London crowd.

A defiant Hamilton however, stood by his decision to snub the demonstration parade, and Wolff launched a staunch defence of his driver at Silverstone on Saturday night.

"Questioning whether a three-time world champion that has just broken Ayrton Senna's pole record and is going to beat Michael Schumacher's record understands how he should prepare himself is an insult," Wolff said. "I give him freedom to organise his days in a way he wants.

"If he feels that staying away from a Formula One environment - being with his friends helps him to overcome what happened in the past and extract performance at Silverstone then so be it. I am perfectly fine with it and always was.

"We flagged the risks, that it could be seen as not right to attend the event. Within the team there was never an issue, and between us there was never an issue."

A worked-up Wolff also took aim at Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who he appeared on stage with at the London event. Horner had issued a subtle barb at Hamilton's absence in front of the crowd.

"The one that mentioned 19 drivers was there was Christian, and Christian is always trying to put a bit of mischief into the situation," Wolff added.

"If the superstar is not there, of course people are not happy. I wouldn't be happy if I went there and the guy I was trying to see was not there. But he took a decision for his championship.

"The way he has been treated in certain media is wrong and not fair. Before his home race at Silverstone after rough weekends in Austria and Baku to be treating the local superstar and hero in that way is absolutely against how I see things."

Source: PA