Wolff tells backmarkers to look at the bigger picture

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.
© XPB 

Toto Wolff says that backmarkers need to think in bigger terms during a race and not get in the way of championship contenders.

The Mercedes boss was frustrated after seeing Lewis Hamilton become embroiled in a brawl between Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin during the Singapore Grand Prix.

That was despite race control showing the slower cars a series of blue flags to warn them about the approach of the leaders. The hold-up cost Hamilton a three second lead and allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to get right on the back of Hamilton toward the end of Sunday's race.

Fortunately, the Mercedes was finally able to get past the two cars and put them a lap down, after which he swiftly rebuild his gap at the front and went on to win the race.

“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” Grosjean said afterward. He was penalised by race stewards, and now has nine penalty points on his superlicence for the past 12 month period - reaching 12 would result in an automatic one-race ban.

Wolff said that the other drivers involved should have been more clued-up and aware about what was going on around them at Marina Bay Street Circuit.

"Obviously you're angry that you have lost the gap," he said. "But you need to accept that these guys are fighting for position, and trying to have their own best race. And we have to respect it.

"[But] if the leaders come, and it's close, then maybe they should have more of a global perspective what's happening behind them.

"In a racing car sometimes you don't know what's happening and just see that the leader is coming and you're fighting for your own position.

"You have to respect everybody's struggle to perform," he insisted. "I think the drivers need to discuss this among themselves."

Hamilton wasn't the only Mercedes driver to be held up in the race. His team mate Valtteri Bottas was also delayed in traffic, which almost cost him his advantage over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"He was upset because he couldn't close up to Hulkenberg, which was a shame," Wolff said. In the Finn's case, it was a lack of blue flags being shown despite Bottas being within the regulation 1.2s of the Renault driver that irked Wolff.

"I think something which we need to look at," Wolff said. "Whether the gap, the 1.2 seconds, is a gap that needs to be adjusted for street circuits.

"I think it's a rule, and we have to respect the rule, and if we can optimise it for the future we have to look at it."

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