SILVERSTONE -- Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hit out at Romain Grosjean's suggestion that the stewards gave Lewis Hamilton preferential treatment after qualifying for the British Grand Prix, saying the Frenchman has no right to criticise other drivers for controversial moments.
Grosjean was angered by Hamilton in Q3 when the Englishman cost him 0.350s in the final two corners as he finished a flying lap. Hamilton, who went on to claim pole position later in the session, was about to start a lap of his own and said Mercedes had given him no warning about the approaching Haas driver.
The stewards took just 30 minutes to clear Hamilton, saying the presence of the No.44 car had "affected" but not impeded the car behind, something which left Grosjean puzzled and frustrated after the session. Though he has matured in recent years, Grosjean's early career was littered with controversial incidents, namely the huge accident he caused at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix which earned him a one-race ban.
On hearing what Grosjean had said about the incident, Wolff was quick to point out his history.
"There are some that moan all the time and just continue moaning," Wolff said. "I don't even want to comment if Romain Grosjean comes out and starts asking for penalties for other drivers, you'd rather look at his track record. He should be happy he's driving in Formula One."
Hamilton's pole position and Valtteri Bottas' impending gearbox penalty meant Mercedes suffered a near-identical reversal of the last race in Austria. This time around Bottas qualified fourth, unlike Hamilton in Austria who was third, and will drop five places ahead of tomorrow's race after the team had to make a change.
The team has since confirmed the gearbox changes were related to the same issue and Wolff said this is down to how hard Mercedes is pushing to keep up with Ferrari in the championship fight.
"We are trying to push every area and extract performance wherever you can and sometimes you go one step too far. We damaged both gearboxes in Baku and we hope to survive until after Budapest with Valtteri's but we didn't want to take the risk. Now both gearboxes have been changed back to the safe spec, where we shouldn't be having these problems anymore. But it's just the new reality and you just need to not leave any stone unturned in order to find performance." When asked if Valtteri Bottas' Austrian Grand Prix was nearly compromised by the faulty engine, Wolff replied: "In Baku we didn't recognise the problem yet, so it was good that we finished the race there. Obviously it was not a great day overall.
"With Lewis it was clear that the gearbox wouldn't survive Austria. With Valtteri, our damage metrix showed us that we needed to wait after Austria in order to judge if we were able to go until after Budapest or exchange it earlier, so there was a bit of a 50/50 chance and then looking at it, we realised we needed to change."