Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport was absolutely crushed for his driver and the team when, while in command of the Malaysia Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was let down by his Mercedes power unit.
After the shattering disappointment, Lewis spoke with the media and suggested that someone or something didn’t want him to win this season because out of all the Mercedes engines on the grid, his power units are the only ones to fail.
He later retracted those statements leaving many to think he was asked to do so by the team, with others accepting that the statements came from the raw pain and emotion he was feeling at the time.
Wolff explained afterwards that he fully understands where Lewis was coming from and that they are all beating themselves up for letting their driver down when he needed them the most…
“It's hard to know how to sum up a day like today. I just have no words for what happened to Lewis. We feel his pain. This is a mechanical sport, with so much technology, but sometimes you get blindsided by situations with no rational explanation,” he began to explain.
“It's a freaky coincidence as to why he has suffered the majority of the engine problems this year - like the odds of throwing red six times in a row in the casino. But we take a forensic approach to our work in how we build the engines and how we analyse the failures. We always have done and we will do so again. Our guys will get to the bottom of what happened and learn from it.”
“But I don't want to talk about forensics on a day like this - I want to focus on how Lewis responded in the aftermath. We let him down today and we are beating up ourselves about it. And you know, if you're leading the race, about to get back in the Championship lead and then your engine blows up... then every answer is allowed in front of a TV camera. It's completely understandable. But instead of venting frustration, he came back to the garage and shook the hand of every team member; we talked in a small group and we were all really down.”
“Then he stood in front of the team and found the words to lift everybody and help us recover quickly for Japan. This is what the great drivers do, the true Champions, and I must express my respect for how he conducted himself today. The task is to pick ourselves back up for Suzuka. One of the greatest qualities of our group is how we come back from defeat even stronger than before. We will do that again now, in time for Japan next weekend.”