Mercedes boss Wolff slams 'conspiracy theories'


Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff described conspiracy theorists as "lunatics", as he strongly rejected claims the Formula One powerhouse are deliberately sabotaging world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton has taken a backseat to Nico Rosberg this season, watching his team-mate win the first four races after Sunday's victory at the Russian Grand Prix.

Hampered by technical issues in 2016, which left him 10th after qualifying before rallying to earn a one-two finish for Mercedes in Sochi, Hamilton finds himself 43 points adrift of Rosberg in the drivers' championship.

Some fans have accused Mercedes of sabotaging Hamilton in favour of allowing Rosberg a free path to the title, while the two-time defending champion denied suggestions of favouritism despite seeing the majority of his staff moved across to his team-mate.

Asked if he felt Mercedes were letting Hamilton down, Wolff insisted post-race: "Of course we don't do it deliberately and the team has been abused on some of the social media and conspiracy theories are out there.

"My response to this is I don't even want to ignore this bunch of lunatics who would think that we would harm a driver, our driver who has been a double world champion for us, he hasn't let us down and we wouldn't let him down. This is a mechanical sport and these things happen.

"As a matter of fact we had a problem on Nico's car which gave us some grey hair during the race, a problem on the MGU-K drive. It looked at a certain stage that he wouldn't finish the race.

"We are pushing the limits on the chassis and the engine sides a lot in order to have a competitive car and this is why we are winning races, but also if you push the limits at a certain stage you find them."

Wolff added: "I think that it is very difficult to take people serious out there who are lying in their bed with their laptop on their chest and are just sending out those abusive messages. We are not taking that serious, you wonder what goes through people's minds.

"Lewis has won two championships with that team in the past and we are always trying to give him the best possible goal in any race. I think the response would be that you question what is going on in some people's heads."