Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg “need to fight for every little advantage” as a result of being given equal treatment by Mercedes.
The relationship between both drivers appeared strained in Monaco following Rosberg's mistake in qualifying which prevented Hamilton from attempting to take pole position from his team-mate. While Hamilton has since taken to Twitter to insist the pair have cleared the air and remain friends
, Wolff said the relationship between the two is likely to remain a tough one as they look to gain an edge over each other.
“It's an intense relationship but this intensity is normal: they are both competitive guys and they are fighting for a World Championship,” Wolff told the official Mercedes website. “They have a competitive car with exactly the same strengths and weaknesses, so they need to fight for every little advantage wherever they can.
“We have seen a lot of talk about their relationship but that's not the key thing for a successful campaign: it's a job, not a holiday, and the drivers need to work with and for the team first of all.”
And Wolff was also keen to play down comparisons of the relationship between his drivers to that between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren in the late 1980s.
“There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico. But the situation here is very different. The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them.
“Sure, it can be pretty tense when they are racing so hard, but the drivers know we will not tolerate any incident. Both of them know that they are representing not just themselves, and not just the team, but nearly 300,000 people who work for Mercedes-Benz around the world.”