Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has played down suggestions that the team did not treat its drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – equally during the Canadian Grand Prix.
During the Montreal race, leader Hamilton’s engineer Peter Bonnington told the British driver that while Rosberg has no problems with fuel consumption, the German’s brake situation was critical.
But when Rosberg asked about the state of Hamilton’s car, his engineer Tony Ross replied that he was not allowed to answer. Indeed, so-called ‘radio coaching’ in Formula 1 is now supposedly banned.
German commentator Christian Danner told Bild newspaper, however, that Bonnington’s radio call to Hamilton gave the Briton “A clear competitive advantage”.
Another former F1 driver now pundit, Marc Surer, agreed that Bonnington had gone into a “grey area” in terms of the radio rules.
Told that the episode might imply favouritism for Hamilton, Wolff insisted: “We have already clarified the matter internally.
“The statement from Lewis’ engineer had no impact on the race. I stress once again: the drivers have absolutely equal treatment.”
Wolff also said Rosberg’s engineer Ross had handed the radio call “exemplarily”, while it is true that Bonnington’s father died just a couple of days before Canada.
Rosberg said Hamilton fully deserved the win, “It was a challenging race because we had to manage fuel, brakes, all these things, but it was the same for Lewis. The same for both of us.”