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Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has given an insight into Toto Wolff’s likely approach to dealing with the Qatar Grand Prix fallout after team-mates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed into each other. The collision saw the seven-time world champion retire from the race, while Russell was able to recover and finish fourth in Losail.
Hamilton took the blame for the incident and Wolff will have been encouraged to see both of his drivers handle the situation with maturity. However, a crash between a team’s own two cars is a worst-case scenario when planning for a Grand Prix and Wolff has been tipped to take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.
The team principal has been away from the grid after undergoing knee surgery, but is set to return for the United States GP – not before he holds private talks with both Hamilton and Russell, according to Rosberg.
“That [the collision] would not have been ideal, because Toto is the only person there that can manage that,” Rosberg said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast. “He’s the only person that will have the authority and respect to be able to handle that. He’s the right guy also to handle it because no one else can force them to sit down really and have a discussion and hit the table.
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“I think it’d be very good for Toto to be back at the racetrack. What Toto can do is like, when they were back here in Monaco on Monday after Qatar, maybe he would have sat down with both or go visit Lewis in his apartment and have a sit down with George individually first. And then, ideally, you’d also sit them together.”
Rosberg spent the final seven years of his F1 career at Mercedes with Wolff and knows the team boss well, insisting that after individual talks with Hamilton and Russell, he can resolve the current situation.
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The 2016 F1 champion has lavished praise on the Austrian executive, knowing that he will not pick sides between the two Silver Arrows drivers after a piece of advice given to Wolff by four-time champion Alain Prost.
“He’s (Wolff) had so much experience with managing teammates, so he knows what needs to be done,” Rosberg added. “The most important for him is to be neutral, which was advice that Alain Prost gave him back in our time.
“He said the most important is never to take a side between the drivers and stay neutral because, once you take a side, it spirals out of control. I think Toto will have learned a lot. I’m sure he’ll be managing that well.”
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