TOTO WOLFF FUMES AT "NUMPTY" DRIVER OVER SILVERSTONE RUN-IN WITH MERCEDES STAR

After watching Lewis Hamilton roar to a long-awaited ninth career victory at Silverstone, his boss Toto Wolff also heaped praise upon one of his other Mercedes stars.

George Russell started the British Grand Prix on pole but had to retire mid-way through with a water system issue on his car. But Hamilton was there to pick up the pieces and win for the first time in 945 days - also securing back-to-back victories for Mercedes.

And he wasn't the only one representing the Silver Arrows to pick up a trophy at the weekend. Andrea Kimi Antonelli has had a tough first Formula 2 season so far, having been fast-tracked into the series, but won for the first time in Saturday's Sprint.

His chances of a repeat success in the feature race the following day were dashed on the first lap after contact with Kush Maini. The collision caused enough damage for the Italian to report over the radio that he could not continue, telling his Prema team: "It's over."

Antonelli, 17, is the hot prospect Mercedes are very excited about and, despite his lack of experience at a high level, is the current favourite to be handed Hamilton's seat in F1 next season when the Briton joins Ferrari. And team principal Wolff was full of praise for the starlet after watching him collect the trophy for his first win.

The Austrian said: "Seeing him on Saturday walking over the water, at times two seconds quicker than everybody, you can see the talent and the ability and the potential this young guy has. Winning that race I think took a lot of weight off his shoulders."

Wolff also reflected on the incident which cost Antonelli the chance to add to his points haul, adding: "Today it was DNF, but it wasn't his fault. Susie [Wolff, his wife] always says, 'You qualify with numpties, you race with numpties'."

Maini was punished by the stewards who determined that the Alpine junior driver was "wholly to blame" for the collision. Despite apologising to Antonelli, he was given a 10-second time penalty and had two points added to his licence, to cap a thoroughly miserable day for the Indian racer who finished way down in 19th place.

Antonelli spent the rest of his afternoon in the Mercedes garage, watching on as Hamilton made more F1 history at Silverstone. Wolff noted that it would have been a moment for the teenager to savour and use to imagine what he might one day be able to achieve.

The team boss said: "I had this moment where you see the greatest British driver checking out with us at the British Grand Prix, and in the garage you had this young Italian who hasn't got a driving licence that was watching that scene. And I bet he thought, 'I want to be that one day'."

2024-07-09T10:51:40Z dg43tfdfdgfd