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Toto Wolff calls out 'cowards' after allegations of Mercedes sabotage against Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes have contacted police to report an anonymous email which claimed Lewis Hamilton's car has been "sabotaged"; watch every session of Spanish GP live on Sky Sports F1, with qualifying on Saturday at 3pm and race on Sunday at 2pm

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Sky Sports F1's David Croft dismisses the rumours George Russell is being favoured over Lewis Hamilton because 'every point counts' to the team

Toto Wolff has labelled people abusing Mercedes as "cowards" after an anonymous email claimed Lewis Hamilton's car was being sabotaged.

Members of the media and senior figures within F1 received the email after the Canadian Grand Prix from someone purporting to be a Mercedes employee and which contained allegations of sabotage against Hamilton's car.

Having carried out due diligence, Mercedes are satisfied the email did not originate from anyone employed by the team and have reported the matter to the police.

With Russell having outperformed Hamilton - who is leaving the team for Ferrari at the end of this year - so far in the 2024 season, conspiracy theories and accusations of Mercedes favouritism towards the younger Briton have abounded on social media.

Russell was also the subject of online abuse since the last race and, on Thursday in Barcelona, Hamilton called on fans to provide the team with "support not negativity".

Speaking at the Spanish GP on Friday, Wolff said regarding the anonymous email: "It's not from a member of the team. We get tons of these emails. It's upsetting particularly when there is talking about death and all these things.

"With this particular one, I have instructed to go in full force - with the police enquiring it. They are researching the IP address, we are researching the phone, all of that because online abuse in that way needs to stop.

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Toto Wolff shut down rumours about Hamilton's car supposedly being sabotaged according to an email that was sent

"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 and 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. We want to end on a high and we want to celebrate the relationship.

"If you don't believe all of that, then you can believe that we want to win the constructors' championship and part of the constructors' championship is making both cars win. All of all of these mad people out there, take a shrink."

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Naomi Schiff dissects Hamilton's comments describing Canada as ‘one of the worst races he's driven' and if he's experiencing a 'divorce' with the team

Wolff's passionate response to abusers

In what is Hamilton's final season at his long-time Brackley team before his blockbuster switch for 2025 to Ferrari, Russell holds an 8-1 lead in their qualifying head-to-head and is 14 points clear of the seven-time champion in the championship standings after the season's first nine rounds.

Russell's dominance in qualifying in particular has caught the eye and led to wild conspiracy theories on social media, separate to the email, alleging favouritism towards the younger Briton, who is staying at the team for 2025.

"There seems to be lots of irrationality, because we want to be successful. We want to be successful with the most iconic driver the sport has ever had," continued Wolff.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Damon Hill believes Mercedes should back Russell more

"The privilege that we had to work with Lewis, as an incredible driver, a great personality that goes through the ups and downs like any other like any other sports person. I totally respect the reasons for him going to Ferrari.

"There is no grudge, there's no bad feeling, the interaction we have in the team is positive. Every comment from the outside of what is going in the team is just simply wrong.

"But there's always a limit. If emails are being sent or telephone numbers are being used for these messages then for me, the joking stops, and we will pursue it, whether that is successful or not.

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George Russell believes the Spanish, Austrian, and the British GP will help Mercedes see the true performance of the car

"There are limits to certain things and obviously online abuse is not only something that happens to us, it happens badly to Lewis and George.

"You see Max [Verstappen] speaking out about it, and Kelly [Piquet]. People that abuse are cowards because they hide.

"Whatever is going on out there, with social media, with all the good things that it provides, and all those people that are being given a platform, that's just the negatives that come with it. I have no feelings to someone that abuses."

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Croft: This story doesn't add up to me

Sky Sports F1's David Croft:

"I'm not saying one side or other is right on this argument but show me the data," he said.

"If the team are disadvantaging one driver the data will be there to prove it. If somebody who purports to be a member of the Mercedes team thinks the data is there, show it.

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Ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix we take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments from previous races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

"At the moment I don't understand why Mercedes would want to disadvantage a driver, even if that driver is going at the end of the season to Ferrari.

"While Lewis is still a Mercedes driver he is earning points in the Constructors' Championship that gets turned into prize money at the end of the season and every point counts and every position counts.

"There's nothing in it for Mercedes to be disadvantaging a driver. That's where this story doesn't add up to me."

Sky Sports F1's live Spanish GP schedule

Spanish GP

Saturday June 22
9.35am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Spanish GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint
2.10pm: Spanish GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Spanish GP Qualifying
5pm: F1 Academy Race 1

Sunday June 23
7.45am: F1 Academy Race 2
9am: F3 Feature Race
10.30am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Spanish GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Spanish GP reaction

Formula 1 heads back to Europe as the championship moves on to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix and the start of a triple-header. Watch every session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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