Wolff not dismissing more crashes for Verstappen/Hamilton duo
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has become so intense that more incidents are likely to occur between the two drivers if they don’t fight in a “sportsmanlike way”.
Hamilton and Verstappen have gone wheel-to-wheel on several occasions this season but while the fighting has been fierce at times it was also mostly respectful.
At Silverstone however, the pair suffered its first major flash point, with a contact on the opening lap that sent Verstappen into the barriers, an incident that led to Red Bull’s top brass taking aim at Hamilton and at the Mercedes team.
The two drivers will resume their battle this week in Hungary and Wolff fears more on-track scuffles if the two title contenders remain at each other’s throat.
“I think that the intensity has increased since Silverstone,” Wolff told Motorsport.com
“It certainly will not be the last time they fight for position and hopefully they can do it in a sportsmanlike way. And, if not, we will see more collisions.”
Wolff reckons that this year’s earlier skirmishes were only free of drama thanks to Hamilton giving in as he took a long-term approach to his title fight. But At Silverstone, the Briton clearly refused to give up any ground on his rival.
“I think part of his [Hamilton’s] success is not only his race craft, but also his maturity,” said Wolff.
“Long-term strategy is important in order to win championships because you need to score points.
“It has come to a situation that ceding a track position has been part of the pattern of the last few races. This time neither of them conceded and it ended up in a heavy collision.”
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Wolff utterly dismissed the assumption that Hamilton had deliberately forced the issue while dicing with Verstappen, to prove a point.
“I think he’s much beyond proving a point,” said the Austrian. “He is a 99-time race winner, and seven-time world champion. There is nothing Lewis Hamilton needs to prove to anybody anymore.”
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