Wolff admits to tense driver rivalry

Hamilton leads from Rosberg just moments before the two clash during the Belgian Grand Prix
Hamilton leads from Rosberg just moments before the two clash during the Belgian Grand Prix

Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, says the relationship between drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has become “very intense” as the duo battle for the 2014 F1 World Championship title.

Rosberg currently leads his team-mate by 22 points ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Rosberg and Hamilton were teenage karting team-mates, and after a happy start to their time together at Mercedes, their friendship has been under strain and is now broken after coming to a head when the two clashed at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Wolff understands that both drivers have struggled with the fact that they are competing against a rival with exactly the same machinery, and says there has been a noticeable change in the pair’s relationship this season.

He said this week: “It has changed from, let’s say, an almost amicable relationship at the beginning of the season to a very intense moment, where it was almost like realising these two are enemies competing for the world title.

“It’s also a learning process. These boys have been calibrated their whole life that their main priority is to win the drivers’ championship in F1, and here they go - they are in the same car, competing against each other for that trophy.

“One is going to win and one is going to fail. This is a new experience for them, a difficult experience maybe.”

The Brackley team have been utterly dominant in 2014, winning all but three races this season as they lead the Constructors’ Championship by a massive 182 points.

Wolff is also proud of the fact that the Mercedes team are letting their drivers race for the title against each other, and not enforcing team orders to dictate race results.

He added: “We are breaking new ground in letting the boys race in the way we do. So we are bound to make mistakes. I think that’s the way it should be though.

“This is motor racing and we are providing a great spectacle for the public. Everyone is enjoying this great battle right now.”