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Lewis Hamilton

Wolff questions whether Verstappen and Hamilton will confront each other

The rivalry between title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton has made for thrilling entertainment during the 2021 F1 season, and Toto Wolff thinks their relationship is a key point of interest in the sport.

Hamilton Verstappen
To news overview © Mercedes

Toto Wolff believes that the rivalry between title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has an added level of interest in terms of how it affects their relationship.

The battle for the 2021 World Championship has resulted in some controversial moments on track, most notably two collisions between the pair at the British and Italian Grands Prix.

However, it appears on the surface that their manner with each other away from racing has not been greatly changed by these events.

Despite this, the dynamic between the drivers is something that Wolff thinks makes F1 so fascinating.

"I don't think you can control it, Hamilton and Verstappen," Wolff told the Daily Mail. "I don't think you want to control it, because they are the gladiators in their machines.

"That is what makes this sport so interesting, because it is ingrained in our nature that we don't like confrontation and then one is intrigued to see how that relationship unfolds.

"If they crash are they going to confront each other? What are they going to say? Will they look in each others' eyes? We would not interfere. The relationship is sorted out between the individuals."

As well as the Hamilton/Verstappen relationship, the rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull has also provided many talking points over the course of the season so far.

One of these was the fallout from the collision between their drivers at Silverstone, where each side clearly had a different perspective – and still does.

"Our perspective is of an over-aggressive Verstappen, who has been over-aggressive for a long time but has always got away with it, who then ended up in the wall," Wolff said.

"We think he should have left space. We saw him crash, which was hard, but he got out of the car and we heard on many occasions he was OK, that he was sent to hospital for precautionary checks but was all right – and that came from senior Red Bull personnel.

"Meanwhile, we finally won a race again, in Silverstone, with Lewis Hamilton, in front of a big British crowd, against the odds. So we were super-happy. We gained 25 points on our main rival.

"But from Red Bull's perspective they think they were in the right, they see their driver go into the wall and hear him on the radio, suffering – which we didn't hear – with immense impact.

"You've lost 25 points, which is disastrous for your campaign and then your driver is in hospital not feeling great with a 50G impact and then you see Mercedes celebrating exuberantly. So you think that's not right.

"Could we have done it better? Muted celebrations? No. People always see things in black and white. I'm right, you're wrong. They don't get it.

"Then we go to Monza. So what's worse? A 50G impact, or having a car on your head? Look, both walked away unharmed. That was the consequence, so fine, we move on."

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