Wolff warned Max Verstappen’s dad against his son playing decisive role in F1 title fight

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff warned Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, that it would be bad for his son to be remembered for playing a decisive role in this year’s fight for the drivers’ championship.

Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are currently embroiled in a close battle for this year’s title with two races remaining in the season.

Verstappen, 19, has been one of F1’s breakout stars in 2016, becoming the youngest winner in the sport’s history in Spain and scoring a number of other podium finishes with Red Bull.

However, his on-track antics have piqued the attention of his peers, with Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean all previously voicing concern about his aggressive approach.

Wolff has become the latest figure to flag it up, believing Verstappen could play a part in deciding the title fight between his drivers.

Wolff got in contact with Jos Verstappen, himself an ex-F1 driver, to air his thoughts ahead of this weekend’s race at Interlagos in Brazil.

“My main message for Jos was that he should come to the races again because he seems to be the only guy that Max really listens to and respects,” Wolff told British newspaper The Times.

“And I also said to him that it would be bad for Max if he was remembered for deciding the world championship this year through a reckless move against one of our drivers.

“Everybody wants to see hard racing but, for the sake of Max and of our boys, an all-in move that could ultimately kill their championship aspirations is too much.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner confirmed the story to Sky Sports, expressing his surprise that Wolff deemed it necessary to go to such lengths.

“Jos told me when he got here on Thursday, and I was just a bit surprised that Toto was calling another driver’s father from another team,” Horner said.

“I think Jos was a bit surprised when he put the phone down to Toto that not only was he commenting on behalf of Mercedes, but Ferrari as well, that the way Max was conducting himself wasn’t winning him any favors and he should wind his neck in.

“I’ve not heard of a team principal calling up other driver’s fathers before, but obviously Toto felt the need to do so.”

Verstappen was non-plussed by the affair, though, brushing off Wolff’s thoughts when talking to NBCSN after qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday.

“It’s all a bit exaggerated,” Verstappen said.

“We’re here to race for our own team. We’re not here to race for Mercedes.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.