Red Bull's Christian Horner has said he enjoys the back and forth verbal fight between himself and Mercedes' Toto Wolff, with the war between the two rival team bosses almost as contentious this year as between their drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
The tension between the pair has escalated this year, particularly at the height of the flexible wing protest saga, when Wolff pointedly called Horner a "windbag", to which Horner responded by saying Wolff loves speaking to the media and enjoying the attention.
Speaking to Channel 4 over the Russian Grand Prix weekend, Horner said that Wolff's different demeanour this year, compared to his usually impeccably composed persona, is down to the intense pressure being applied by Red Bull.
"It is, of course, the first time that Mercedes and the first time ever that Toto Wolff have been in the situation where they are being challenged," Horner said.
"He's been in a situation where he came into the team [in 2013], the drivers were already signed, the engine was already in place.
"He's done a great job to keep the team winning, but he didn't really have any competition. This is the first time it's a true scrap, it's a true competition. There's a respect between the teams, but we operate in different ways."
Horner pointed out the different approaches he and Wolff take to a race weekend, including how they even watch the race, and their involvement.
"I very much want to be on the front line, sitting on the pit wall with the strategists and the engineers, while Toto is in the garage next to the press guy," he said.
"It's different functions, different roles, different outlooks, but the competition is fierce. That's the key thing about this championship. We're loving the competition and the more Toto gets wound up, the more fun it becomes."
With seven races remaining, Verstappen trails Hamilton by two points but has now taken his engine penalty for fitting a fourth power unit, while has also taken quite a bit of bad luck with a tyre failure in Baku, and two disastrous races at Silverstone and the Hungaroring.
As a result, Horner believes the championship is still firmly within their grasp.
"The next 12 weeks will determine whether we win a championship or not," he said. "We have [seven] cup finals, basically, to ensure that we deliver at our very best.
"Mercedes are beatable, but it's only if we are at our best that we can succeed. We have already proved that we can do it, we've proved to ourselves we can do it, because we got ourselves into that position."
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