Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff demands inquest following Yuki Tsunoda’s bizarre retirement from Dutch Grand Prix which wrecked Lewis Hamilton’s best route to possible victory
- Toto Wolff wants inquest into Yuki Tsunoda’s retirement from Dutch Grand Prix
- Tsunoda triggered a VSC that wrecked Lewis Hamilton’s best route to victory
- Hamilton had been destined for a one-stop strategy to Max Verstappen’s two
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff last night called for an investigation into Yuki Tsunoda’s bizarre retirement from the Dutch Grand Prix.
The Japanese driver stopped on lap 45, continued, and then pulled into the pits complaining over the radio that his tyres were not fixed on properly.
He then re-emerged to start one more aborted lap. When he ground to a halt, he triggered a virtual safety car (VSC) that wrecked Lewis Hamilton’s best route to possible victory.
Toto Wolff called for an investigation into Yuki Tsunoda’s retirement from the Dutch Grand Prix.
Hamilton had been destined for a one-stop strategy to eventual winner Max Verstappen’s two. But the suspension in racing brought about by the failure of the AlphaTauri — Red Bull’s junior team — changed the course of events by allowing the world champion a free stop.
Social media conspiracists suggested it was a fix. Wolff did not go that far, but said: ‘If we were fighting a championship, this would be something I would closely look at.
‘What needs to be investigated for the safety of drivers, and everybody out there, is that the driver stopped, unbuckled, did a full lap, came in; the problem wasn’t solved, they put the seatbelts back on and he drove out and stopped the car again.
‘That probably changed the outcome of a race we maybe could have won. The simulation said Max would have come out eight seconds behind us (after his second stop without the VSC) and we would have had a fair shot, and the race planner said the win was on.
‘Max would have caught Lewis about eight laps from the end. It would have been very close.’
Wolff was angry after Tsunoda triggered a VSC that negatively impacted Lewis Hamilton
Tsunoda said: ‘I thought there was an issue at the left rear, so I got told by my engineer to stop.
‘But we didn’t see any clear issue in the data. That is why I got back to the pits to fit a new tyre. After that, we saw a clear issue in the data and that is why we stopped.
‘When I accelerated from the pit exit, it felt as if only one wheel was having wheelspin. It was like I was drifting down the straight and had to counter-steer.’
Hamilton had been destined for a one-stop strategy to eventual winner Max Verstappen’s two
Asked about the exact diagnosis, Tsunoda replied: ‘I don’t know.’ He was reprimanded by the stewards for driving on to the track in unsafe conditions by loosening his seatbelt.
The FIA later said the problem was with the differential.
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