Shropshire Star

Wolff urges ‘lunatics’ who think Hamilton is being sabotaged to ‘see a shrink’

An anonymous email claimed Hamilton is being mistreated ahead of his blockbuster move to Ferrari.

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Toto Wolff has urged “lunatic conspiracy theorists” who believe Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes is being “sabotaged” to “see a shrink”.

Wolff’s defiant remarks arrived after it emerged Mercedes have called on the police to investigate an anonymous email – said to be sent by a disgruntled Mercedes staff member – which claimed Hamilton is being mistreated ahead of his blockbuster move to Ferrari.

The correspondence, titled “a potential death warrant for Lewis”, accused Wolff of being “vindictive” and said the Austrian, 52, “is doing everything possible to get back at him (Hamilton)” for electing to quit Mercedes.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has taken aim at
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has taken aim at “lunatic conspiracy theorists” (David Davies/PA)

The letter added that Mercedes’ so-called treatment of the seven-time world champion “could ultimately be life-threatening to Lewis”.

Mercedes investigated the provenance of the correspondence and have now turned the matter over to the police.

Wolff, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, said: “It is not from a member of the team. We get tonnes of these kind of e-mails. But it is particularly upsetting when someone is talking about death.

“I have instructed to go full force with police inquiring it, researching the IP address, researching the phone number, because online abuse in that way needs to stop. People can’t hide behind their phones, or their computers, and abuse teams or drivers in a way like this.

“I don’t know what some of the conspiracy theorists, lunatics, think out there? Lewis was part of the team for 12 years, we have a friendship, we trust each other, we want to win, and end this on a high and celebrate the relationship.

Lewis Hamilton in action at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton trails team-mate George Russell by 12 points in the standings (David Davies/PA)

“And if you don’t believe all of that, then you can believe we want to win the constructors’ world championship, and that is by making both cars win. To all of these mad people out there, take a shrink.”

The letter was sent to Formula One’s major players – including Wolff, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, as well as members of the media – in the wake of the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this month.

Hamilton missed out on a podium in Montreal when team-mate George Russell overtook him on the penultimate lap.

Speaking on Thursday, Hamilton said he has not seen the e-mail which was addressed to the same recipients used to leak messages pertaining to be exchanged between Christian Horner and his complainant on the eve of the season-opening race in Bahrain.

Russell, who has also out-qualified Hamilton at eight of the nine races so far, has since been subjected to online abuse.

Wolff, who has overseen six of Hamilton’s record-equalling seven world title at Mercedes, continued: “There will always be people who have the laptop on their chest in the bedroom just typing away.

“If people feel like they want to abuse, and hit out, and hide behind a made-up Instagram account, or anything else, come up and say who you are. I will take the criticism and discuss. But don’t hide.

“There seems to be lots of irrationality. We want to be successful with the most iconic driver the sport has ever had.

“Lewis is a great personality, who goes through ups and downs like any other sportsperson. I totally respect the reasons for him going to Ferrari. There is no grudge, there is no bad feeling, the interaction we have in the team is positive, so commenting from outside on what is going on in the team is simply wrong.

“But there is always a limit. If emails are being sent, and telephone numbers are being used, for me, the joking stops. And we will pursue it. People that abuse are cowards.”

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