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Wolff: We let the boys play with their toys

NEWS STORY
29/05/2014

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is refusing to be drawn in by the media hysteria over the relationship between his drivers... for now.

After months of trying, sections of the media finally got their way at the weekend when the 'relationship' between the two Mercedes drivers finally appeared to hit rock bottom.

Having claimed that his modest upbringing, compared to that of Nico Rosberg's, made him hungrier, Lewis Hamilton's mood worsened - to put it mildly - when the German took pole in controversial circumstances. The Briton, insisting that Rosberg had deliberately made a mistake at Mirabeau which resulted in yellow flags which ended his own hopes of taking pole, was further miffed when the German took a lights-to-flag victory next day and with it the championship lead.

Before the race Hamilton had hinted at following the example of his hero Ayrton Senna, leading many to surmise a Suzuka style incident during the race. Thankfully nothing happened.

Nonetheless, Hamilton's mood post-race and during the subsequent press conference and TV interview suggest that the issue is far from settled.

Amidst claims that the in-team fight could derail Mercedes championship hopes, Wolff insists that he will allow them to continue to fight but only so far.

"It's an intense relationship but this intensity is normal," he told the team's website. "They are both competitive guys and they are fighting for a World Championship. They
have a competitive car with exactly the same strengths and weaknesses, so they need to fight for every little advantage wherever they can.

"We have seen a lot of talk about their relationship but that's not the key thing for a successful campaign: it's a job, not a holiday, and the drivers need to work with and for the team first of all.

"There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna / Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico. But the situation here is very different. The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them. Sure, it can be pretty tense when they are racing so hard, but the drivers know we will not tolerate any incident. Both of them know that they are representing not just themselves, and not just the team, but nearly 300,000 people who work for Mercedes-Benz around the world."

Asked about Rosberg's 'off' in qualifying, Wolff said: "The race stewards are the impartial authority. They saw the data, they gave Nico a pretty good grilling and they found no reason to believe it was anything other than a mistake. So in that situation, you have to believe it was an honest mistake. Within the team, we are transparent with our data and we give our drivers equal equipment and equal opportunity to succeed.

"We have fair processes in place to handle things like which driver runs first on the road in qualifying, or who has the priority with race strategy," he added. "We constantly question any area in which we think we can improve how we work but we are not planning to make any changes. Our priority at every race weekend is that a Silver Arrow wins – not which driver wins. We want to see hard, fair competition that does not damage the success of the team."

Summing up the race, he said: "Lewis and Nico have been very evenly matched all year and they pushed each other all the way in every session. They are both Monaco
specialists, so they were determined to perform.

"Nico has a great track record there but it's a special achievement to win consecutive Grands Prix in Monaco, especially with your team-mate breathing down your neck for the majority of the race. He absorbed the pressure well.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Truthseeker, 01/06/2014 20:18

"I've been a fan of Lewis talent since his rookie year. Was always aware that his persona needed to mature and accepted that as part of the package.
I'm getting tired, though, of his petulant attitude towards his teammate and rival, Rosberg.
Time for Hamilton to man up and understand his part in making Grand Prix history this year. A most memorable season is taking shape! Will Lewis be remembered as a master competitor full of class and grace? Or as a talented but immature complainer? "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by bodkin68, 30/05/2014 12:18

"I used to like Hamilton but he has changed so much he is embarrassing to himself and F1."

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3. Posted by Natcheztoo, 30/05/2014 5:22

"My opinion is that the diamond studs in Hamilton's ears are so large that they are affecting the way he thinks. "

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