Ferrari would have been “brutal” had it switched Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel’s places with team orders in the Austrian Grand Prix, says Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff.
Vettel retook the F1 championship lead from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by one point with third place behind Raikkonen on a day when both Mercedes retired.
Having been as low as eighth thanks to a grid penalty for impeding Carlos Sainz and then two first-lap errors, Vettel came back through the field and was closing on Raikkonen in the final part of the race as both chased race winner Max Verstappen.
Ferrari elected not to ask Raikkonen to cede second place to give Vettel an extra three points, despite the Finn being out of realistic title contention, in a decision Wolff applauded.
“We wouldn’t have and I’m not surprised that they didn’t,” he said.
“I think for the sake of the sport and the fans and the drivers, at that stage in the season, the beginning of July, switching drivers is quite a brutal call.”
Vettel got within 1.6 seconds of Raikkonen, but made clear he never anticipated team help – saying “no, why?” when asked by Sky Sports F1 if he had expected a place swap.