Cold fury after ‘rude’ reporter slap

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s ice cold response to a “rude” reporter’s question has been singled out as one of the most dramatic moments in the second season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive Formula 1 documentary.

The popular series released it’s second season on Saturday (AEDT) showing the frosty exchange between the journalist and team principle during Mercedes’ worst day of 2019 at its home grand prix in Germany.

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The brutal press conference footage was just one of several startling revelations to emerge from the second season, including:

— Daniel Ricciardo’s unexpected rivalry with former Renault driver Carlos Sainz

— Red Bull’s scathing appraisal of driver Pierre Gasly before the team’s decision to dump him back to Toro Rosso and replace him with Alex Albon; and

— The hostile atmosphere in the Renault garage at the end of the 2019 season, after it became clear that the team would replace Nico Hulkenberg with Esteban Ocon, leaving the German driver unemployed in 2020.

It was a very bad day for Toto.Source:Getty Images

However it was the sheer disdain in Wolff’s response to the journalist that has attracted the most immediate interest from Formula 1 commentators since the series went live on Netflix.

The veteran Mercedes official finally lost his cool during the German Grand Prix post-race press conference after the team endured a day he described as “catastrophic”.

Lewis Hamilton had his worst race of the season, finishing 11th, and Valtteri Bottas crashed out as the Silver Arrows left the Hockenheimring in a sour mood on a day when the team was supposed to be celebrating its 200th race as a Mercedes factory-backed team.

The Netflix cameras reveal Wolff’s pained reaction to his team’s horror day — and he finally let it show in the press conference minutes later.

The documentary shows Wolff being asked a bold question from a reporter identified as Ben Hunt from The Sun in the UK.

“How embarrassing is this for you,” Hunt asks Wolff.

“The team’s home race? Having Netflix here? You know, you’ve got the outfits, everything was poised for the celebration and you’ve ended up with a car in eleventh and car in the kitty litter. It can’t be too good?”

Wolff’s response showed he was not amused by the blunt question.

Toto Wolff finally let the emotion show.Source:Getty Images

Toto Wolff: You want a headline for The Sun from me? I’m not going to give you a headline.

Ben Hunt: I’ll do that, don’t worry.

TW: Yeah, I know. It was a terrible day for us. Should I actually respond to you when you give me such an answer?

BH: Well, why not?

TW: Well, Lewis put the car into the wall and then we made the wrong call with the tyres. The tyres were not ready. But I wouldn’t say it was just one bad decision or one bad incident.

The cameras showed moments before the press conference exactly how angry Wolff was about his team’s performance.

“That was terrible today,” he was filmed saying to his engineers.

“More than terrible, catastrophic.”

When asked on the phone, if it was a “tough day at the office,” Wolff says: “Was it a tough day in the office? No it was a total cr**, f***ing, s*** awful day at the office. Not a tough day in the office.”

The documentary also captured how much the race result wounded him.

“How‘s it gone this bad?” he asked on team radio late in the race.

He also attempted to apologise to Wolff after the race.

“I’m really sorry about today, man. I’m so f***ing sorry, man,” he said.

“I’m distraught about that f***ing corner. F***.”

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