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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Driver spats expected with equal status – Wolff

Toto Wolff says conflict between drivers with equal team status can be expected, but says relations between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are 'OK'
Toto Wolff says conflict can always be expected between two drivers with equal status within a team, insisting Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's sporadic fallouts haven't had a detrimental effect on Mercedes.

Since Mercedes became the dominant force in F1 with the change in the regulations from 2014, Hamilton and Rosberg's rivalry has occasionally boiled over into conflict, most recently in the United States after the German complained Hamilton – who clinched the title on that day – was too aggressive at the start of the race.

With Wolff likening that particular spat to that of Spa-Francorchamps a year earlier, the Mercedes F1 boss said discussions had taken place behind closed doors to clear the air, even if Hamilton dismissed the necessity of them at the time.

With neither driver giving much away about the talks in the aftermath, Wolff played down the state of the relationship, saying it is symptomatic of having a team with no defined No.1 and No.2 status driver.0

“I think the relationship is okay. It is as good as it can be when you've got two drivers competing, being as close as they are in the same car, for the world championship. You cannot expect them to be best friends.

“We've had our ups and downs but, in general, it wasn't detrimental for the team, it was respectful and when you decide consciously to have a line-up with two drivers with equal status, it's clear that it sometimes needs balancing out but we'd rather do that than have a number one and number two.”

Hamilton achieved his third career world title with three races to spare, though Rosberg has won the last two events in Mexico and Brazil leading up to the Abu Dhabi finale.


Related Pictures

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14.11.2015 - Qualifying, Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
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Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.
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Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.
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Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.
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Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.
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Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.
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(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1; Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1, as the grid observes the national anthem.
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(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 as the grid observes the national anthem.
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MaddMe

November 23, 2015 3:21 PM

At Spa last year, both drivers were equal places in the standings. After the Spa incident Lulu was suddenly quicker than Rosberg despite being out qualified by Rosberg at virtually every race... This season Lulu bullied Rosberg off track twice and nothing was said either by the stewards or the team. Since Texas, Rosberg has held Lulu behind him in both qualification and on track. Both drivers are of similar ability, just one of them have had their balls held in a vice. The other is allowed free reign to say and do as he pleases and can do no wrong in the teams eyes...

Taz

November 23, 2015 11:05 AM

Equal status? who's he kidding. Rosberg drives into lulu, cue massive internal bollocking. Lulu drives into Rosberg or drives him of the track, nothing more is said. These incidents wouldn't have changed the result this year I doubt but to say they have equal status is laughable.



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