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Wolff denies talk of Hamilton demanding team seniority

NEWS STORY
16/04/2015

Toto Wolff has rubbished talk of Lewis Hamilton asking to be given number one status at Mercedes.

With events in China reigniting the feud between teammates, and former karting buddies, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes was quick to dismiss talk that it would look at the team orders issue again.

"We saw tensions between Nico and Lewis in the race and we tackled them directly on Sunday night to stop anything carrying over to this weekend," said Wolff in the build-up to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"When you have intense competition, it's normal that it causes emotions to run high," he admitted, "and that's not something we want to change. But both drivers are now very focused on delivering maximum performance and we maintain our philosophy of letting the drivers race - but they both know that the number one priority for the team is to win for Mercedes-Benz."

The team has yet to agree a new contract with the Briton, who last week admitted that the lengthy negotiations are a "pain in the backside", and in recent days it has been suggested that one of the sticking points in the new deal is that Hamilton has called for number one status within the team. Not so, insists Wolff.

"That's not the case," he told Sky Sports News HQ, "and he wouldn't ask for that clause because that is not what we do and I think he appreciates how we manage the team and give both drivers equal status.

"It is down to the detail," he said of the contract talks. "We have discussed and negotiated for a long time. We have sorted out the main terms since a couple of months already and it's just a little bit of ping-pong between the lawyers. This is the normal process.

"I would really wish to sort it out in the next couple of days or weeks, without putting ourselves under pressure because this is a great relationship among us," he admitted. "We want to win races and just put the signed contract into the drawer."

Asked if he feels Hamilton has now got inside the head of Rosberg, who has yet to mount a serious challenge this year, Wolff said: "It's difficult to look into the brain. They are very competitive and we have seen much worse with drivers losing out on a particular day - we have seen much worse from Lewis and seen much worse from Sebastian - and to be honest we all have emotions and sometimes we have a better day and sometimes have a worse day.

"You are always being judged in our fast-moving environment by the last race. If he has a good race and beats Lewis on Sunday there is no discussion anymore about his pace. He had a couple of races which were not perfect, he didn't win, but he wouldn't be a Formula 1 race winner if he wouldn't have the strengths to fight back. I have no doubt we will see very good Sundays from Nico as well."

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1. Posted by Hondawho?, 16/04/2015 20:04

"Mr Lewisham Ilton will b back at McLaren from 2016! IMHO"

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2. Posted by Hondawho?, 16/04/2015 19:56

"Mercedes want 2015 Mr Lewisham Iton want two years, by the time this is settled Lewisham Ilton, will have won another championship and then he can rule the world, which he could of course but to keep the interest Mercedes will be happy to now let him go. It's business and F1 is 100% Business and the other half sport!"

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3. Posted by nonickname, 16/04/2015 11:52

"Boys can also have bad hair days!"

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