Toto Wolff weighs in on the disagreement between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Toto Wolff has expressed his opinion on the disagreement between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at Mercedes before the Australian Grand Prix.

The 51-year-old clarified that the two drivers have the autonomy to select their own setups, and the team does not dictate which direction to take.

This comes about after Hamilton claimed that Russell was fortunate with his set-up in Saudi Arabia to which the young driver appeared to respond in a biting manner.

Wolff told Sky Sports: “I think the drivers got to do what they believe is right for their car.

“Everyone is pursuing the set-up directions and that changes between Friday and Saturday very often. Then you realise that one set-up is maybe better than the other one.

“But it’s not that we are coming up with set-ups that they have to run.” Hamilton finished behind Russell in Saudi Arabia as the Silver Arrows struggled for pace for the second weekend running.

Following the race’s conclusion, the seven-time champion stated that choosing the direction to take the car was a straightforward decision with equal likelihood. He then commented that he typically made the correct choice, indirectly criticizing Russell’s decisions. The 38-year-old’s remark implied that he had a better track record than his competitor.

Russell however responded in Australia by asserting that his victory over Hamilton was primarily a result of his skills and the amount of preparation he had undertaken prior to the event.

“The changes we made overnight [after practice], I knew that was going to be the right direction with the work we did with the team, and I believed it was going to be better than the set-up that Lewis opted for.”

On Friday morning, following the initial two hours of running at Albert Park, the pair appeared to have a difference of opinion once more. Hamilton expressed that he felt more self-assured in FP1, as he achieved P2, with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull finishing just ahead.

Russell on the other hand praised his team for making improvements between the two sessions. He finished P4 as Hamilton struggled to 14th in the changeable wet/dry conditions.

Wolff clarified the difference on Friday between the two drivers and appeared to back up Hamilton’s points over the importance of set-ups.

He explained: “We tried two different things on both cars. It worked on one car, not on the other. So it’s a good direction that we’ve got.”