Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff responded to the team’s alleged technical infringement in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix by vowing that it would never risk the safety of its drivers.
Lewis Hamilton claimed a comfortable victory at Monza ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but it was thrown into doubt when the FIA technical delegate found that one of his tires was 0.3 PSI below the minimum allowed starting pressure.
The second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg was also called into question for being 1.1 PSI too low. The German driver had retired from the race with three laps remaining after an engine failure.
Mercedes escaped exclusion or any time penalty following a meeting with the stewards after the race, with Wolff insisting that the team would never have risked its drivers’ safety.
“We had to manage the situation with the stewards after the race, although we were confident that we had acted correctly throughout and followed the guidance from Pirelli,” Wolff said.
“As Mercedes-Benz, our number one priority is to operate our car within the prescribed safety limits and this is not something we would ever take a chance on.
“Indeed, we worked very closely with Pirelli since Spa to help define these limits for the race weekend in Monza, and we saw today that there were no problems in a very high-speed, hard-fought race; my compliments go to Pirelli for the job they have done here in Monza.”
Hamilton admitted after the race that he was not concerned about the low tire pressure on his car, believing it to have made no difference to his pace.
After seeing the Briton extend his championship lead to 53 points over Rosberg on Sunday, Wolff admitted that he was in a strong position to claim a third world championship.
“A bittersweet day for us all with a fantastic win for Lewis but a DNF for Nico after he had climbed back through the field,” Wolff said. “The pattern was set at the start, when Lewis retained the lead but Nico suffered a bad start.
“Lewis was able to build a good gap to Vettel, drove a flawless race and thoroughly deserved his victory. The result leaves him in a very strong championship position with seven races to go.”