Toto Wolff backs down and regrets firing jibe at Max Verstappen

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Toto Wolff has backtracked on his recent comments about Max Verstappen after admitting he had some regrets about speaking out about the Red Bull star. Wolff suggested the Dutchman’s recent record-breaking exploits are ‘for Wikipedia’ and don’t match up to the achievements of Mercedes throughout the 2010s, but the Austrian has distanced himself from his remarks just days later.

Red Bull have already broken McLaren’s long-standing record of consecutive race victories this season with that run still ongoing, and Verstappen made his own history at Monza two weeks ago when he recorded his tenth successive Grand Prix victory, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s nine-win streak from 2013.

The Dutchman is untouchable at the top of the standings this season, but Wolff remained unimpressed due to the lack of threat from team-mate Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver hasn’t won since the fourth round of the season in Baku and sits 145 points behind Verstappen in the standings.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about Verstappen’s achievements after the Italian Grand Prix, Wolff said: “Our situation was a little bit different because we had two guys fighting against each other within the team.

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“I don’t know whether he [Verstappen] cares about the record. It’s not something that would bother me, any of those numbers. It’s for Wikipedia – nobody reads that, anyway.”

These comments attracted plenty of attention and criticism and opened the door for debate about the threat that Valtteri Bottas posed to Lewis Hamilton during his dominant era after the retirement of fierce rival Nico Rosberg.

Addressing his comments at the Singapore Grand Prix, Wolff responded: “Well obviously when you look at the comments in the circumstances you can think about was it the most intelligent thing that I could have said and maybe not.

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“But it’s always been my mindset. It is something that I’ve taken from Niki [Lauda], you know, Niki gave his trophies away to get a free car wash. You won’t find a lot of memorabilia in my places either because those numbers never mattered for the two of us.

“F1 is a meritocracy. And I said it often during this year that only the best will win world championships and you need to recognise what a great job is being done there.

“And at the end they will take another big trophy and that ‘s something that’s the most valuable: the best person in the best car wins the world championship.”

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