While Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is happy to let Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas race freely against each other but has made a stand against “dirty” racing which he feels took place between Red Bull and Ferrari drivers during the British Grand Prix.

Bottas and Hamilton duelled for the lead at Silverstone during the opening laps, highlighted by a bold move by Bottas to retake the lead from Hamilton at Copse, which Wolff described as “very entertaining” as he held his breath hoping the pair avoided colliding and wrecking each other’s race.

Since the fallout between Hamilton and former teammate Nico Rosberg, Mercedes has maintained a rules of engagement between its drivers when fighting on track – something Wolff reminded his drivers during the pre-race team meeting at Silverstone.

Wolff feels his drivers duly followed instructions but after calls to allow Formula 1 drivers to race more freely he says the battles between other drivers became “borderline dirty” which he wouldn’t allow within his team.

Max Verstappen tussled with both Ferrari drivers during the British round, with his fight against Sebastian Vettel ending in a collision, while Pierre Gasly challenged Charles Leclerc late on for the final podium place.

“I thought it was very good racing between the two of them [Hamilton and Bottas], certainly very entertaining, nobody could say that there wasn’t hard defending, but it wasn’t dirty,” Wolff said about Hamilton and Bottas. “What I think we’ve seen between some of the other drivers is borderline dirty.

“There is always dirtiness we want to see out there in racing and it is good when it is drivers going against each other but not in the same team.

“This is exactly what we debated in the morning [before the race]. I don’t want to see any of this in an intra-team battle and I have no doubt they know how to race each other.

“We have seen that on many occasions between Lewis and Valtteri, they respect each other off track and they respect each other on track, to take it another step it is fair enough if you race against another team.”

After the early battle for the lead, Hamilton profited from a timely safety car period to pit and retain the lead ahead of Bottas who had already pitted and committed to a two-stop strategy. That freed Hamilton to charge to a record sixth British GP win and extend his F1 world championship lead to 39 points.



Loading Comments...