Wolff finds "Armageddon" radio complaints "highly entertaining"

Toto Wolff felt unimpressed by McLaren's claim of "Armageddon" over Valtteri Bottas's pitlane spin in Spielberg, believing the three-place Formula 1 grid penalty handed out was "harsh".

Wolff finds "Armageddon" radio complaints "highly entertaining"

Bottas spun his Mercedes W12 car while trying to pull away from his pit box in second gear during practice for the Styrian Grand Prix on Friday afternoon.

Mechanics from McLaren helped turn Bottas's car around so he could get out on track, but the team was quick to air its complaint to F1 race director Michael Masi via the public radio.

The stewards investigated the incident and handed Bottas a three-place grid penalty, relegating the Finn from second to fifth for the start of Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring.

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Bottas said after qualifying in Austria that he thought the penalty was "harsh", adding: "That's how it goes. Everyone is always trying to screw you over in this sport."

Asked about Bottas's penalty, Wolff agreed that it was a harsh decision, saying he found it "highly entertaining how quickly some sporting directors jump on the channel to Masi and come with Armageddon scenarios".

"It's good that these channels are now opened up so we can all have a laugh," Wolff said.

"On the flip side, Valtteri spun in the pitlane, and could have hurt somebody. And that is, whether this is at walking speed, like it happened yesterday, it still can hurt somebody severely. I understand the penalty.

"Do I find it harsh? I find it harsh, particularly against somebody like Valtteri, who is never putting a foot wrong. He was very honest and straightforward with his explanation.

"Many others would have come out and said I don't know what happened, the banner on the floor, the sponsorship on the floor was slippy and you really need to change where you paint, because I had no idea what could happen.

"He came out and he said I tried to optimise my start and I lost it.

"We should have a little bit more integrity like Valtteri has around the paddock, including the ones that push the button very quickly and moan about everyone else and whinge."

The penalty did end up benefitting McLaren, promoting Lando Norris one place on the grid from fourth to third. Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez also gained a place thanks to Bottas's penalty.


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