Toto Wolff opens up on Sebastian Vettel relationship as he considers Mercedes offer

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he has a “friendly” relationship with Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave Ferrari at the end of the year.

Wolff has previously admitted he would consider offering Vettel a drive for Mercedes next year.

The Austrian must decide whether to open talks with the four-time world champion or stick with his young drivers.

If Vettel was to join the Silver Arrows it would likely be in place of Valtteri Bottas, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Lewis Hamilton is expected to pen an extension so he could end up driving alongside Vettel.

The 32-year-old’s decision to leave Ferrari sparked a driver merry-go-round as Carlos Sainz will replace Vettel and in turn Daniel Ricciardo will depart Renault for McLaren.

Wolff was shocked when he discovered the announcements were made before the 2020 campaign even got underway.

“We have a friendly relationship [with Vettel],” Wolff told ESPN.

“I am not so surprised about his decision; I think you could see some cracks.

“He’s a great personality, has been one of the personalities of the last 10 years in Formula One, winning four titles and starting this hugely successful spell at Red Bull.

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“It’s disappointing for him to see that this dream at Ferrari is being discontinued but it is what it is.

“How the events panned out was fast and different because one must not forget there is still a full season to race.

“And you would rarely take decisions so early in the season because be it for Daniel at Renault, or Carlos at McLaren, or Sebastian at Ferrari, these guys will race the new kit, will see all the innovation, will need to be involved in the development of the vehicle and need to play their team part also in some of the competitions.

“So, yes, these decisions came about quicker than I would have done but it’s interesting to watch, maybe there’s something to learn.”

Wolff also explained how Hamilton is coping with the current UK lockdown.

He added: “Lewis has been, as you say, enjoying his different sides of life.

“I think it did make him appreciate the racing a lot and the good sides, but on the other side being away from all the microphones that are being put in your face, this is something that maybe he enjoyed, too.

“It slowed us all down and in our crazy frantic traveling circus, that’s maybe not a bad thing.”

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