Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks Lewis Hamilton’s penalty of five seconds for a late collision with Alex Albon in the Austrian Grand Prix in Formula One was “too harsh”.
Hamilton struggled to hold on to second place with Albon after the last safety car period of the race as they collided at the right hand on Turn 4 as the Red Bull driver attempted to pass outside.
The trustees investigated the incident and decided that Hamilton should have given Albon more room.
It came after Hamilton received a penalty in three places less than an hour before the start of a yellow flag violation in the qualifier he was originally cleared of, after a Red Bull protest.
Hamilton ended up in second place on the road in Austria, but the penalty of five seconds meant he slipped behind Ferrari from Charles Leclerc and McLaren̵
However, Wolff felt that Hamilton could not have done anything differently since he was already fully locked in with his steering.
“Those managers always have a hard time making the right decision,” Wolff said afterwards.
“I think today was a bad day for Lewis and a bad day for the team.
“Obviously, the three grid penalties he got in the morning, with Red Bull digging out another camera angle, you have to take it on the chin, and that’s what it is.
“Then during the race I would definitely say, from my perspective, the five seconds were too harsh. We watched the video now a couple of times.
“Lewis had a full lock in the corner. Albon had about 40% of the way left to make the corner and it was different to turn one: where Lewis had to back out of Albon and push Lewis.
“So in my opinion [the penalty] not justified.
“But I recognize the complexity of the job, to make the right decision. Some go for you, others go for you.”
Albon calculated that the collision with Hamilton cost him a shot at his winning F1 race, and Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Hamilton was “clearly “to blame for the incident, which came after Hamilton also got a five-second penalty for having Albon in a spin at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
“At the restart, Alex Lewis passed and inexplicably for the second time in three races, Lewis met him and took him out of the race,” Horner said.
“It was clearly a misjudgment of Lewis for which he received a penalty but which still cuts deep for Alex.
“We had to retire with what looks like a PU issue, which will now be investigated.
“It is extremely frustrating to get away from this race with a double DNF and no points when we could have been in a position to win.
“The positive is that we looked to have a race but we still have some pace to find until next weekend.”
Hamilton also got two penalty points for the collision to aggravate a bad day for the reigning world champion.