Formula One fans think they spotted Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff 'berating' Lewis Hamilton following a disappointing qualifying performance at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Friday's session, deciding the starting position for the first Sprint race of 2022 on Saturday, took place at a very wet Imola where Mercedes once again struggled to find their pace.
Hamilton almost went out in the first session, finishing just 0.004 seconds ahead of Yuki Tsunoda at the elimination zone, but both he and teammate George Russell bowed out in Q2 and were well behind the pace of their rivals. Remarkably, that brought an end to a stellar Mercedes record that has seen a car in the final round of qualifying in every race since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished the session in the pits and out of his car, not taking to the track following a red flag due to the rain, and was pictured embroiled in what appeared to be some feisty discussions with Wolff – with fans picking up on the incident.
@FormulaFuntime said: "Weird little exchange between Lewis and Toto at the end of Q2 there. Toto seemed to be berating Lewis."
@AceOfStories took a swipe at Mercedes' car, stating: "Toto, what do y'all want Lewis to do with the tractor he was given to drive?!"
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Others added: "Soooooo exactly how much heat was in that Toto/Lewis exchange" and "Ouch missing out on q3 for the first time since 2012 and Toto and Lewis looking like they are not seeing eye to eye at the moment. Hopefully the mercs can figure out the car soon."
Hamilton was quizzed on the incident by reporters following the events at Imola but refused to comment on what went on, saying: "It's all internal stuff, I'm not going to share that. We'll just keep working, it is what it is."
He did, however, make it clear that he felt mistakes were made by the team, adding: "I think we underperformed as a team today. There are things that we should have done that we didn't do."
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