Mercedes Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has refuted Red Bull chief Christian Horner’s claim that the team is favouring Lewis Hamilton over Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton leads the 2020 championship by 47 points over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while he is 50 points clear of his Mercedes teammate Bottas after winning five of the opening seven races this year.

The Briton is on course to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven world championships amid Mercedes’ dominant start to the season and he is also likely to surpass Schumacher’s wins tally of 91.

Horner recently said he believes that Hamilton is being given preferential treatment this year despite Mercedes taking pride in giving its drivers equal opportunities in their title battles.

Responding to Horner’s comments, Wolff revealed that he spoke to the Red Bull boss about his claim and moved to deny the notion.

“I spoke to him about that,” Wolff said. “He said: ‘Why didn’t you pit Valtteri for the second stop?’ And I said ‘if we would have known that the two-stop was quicker, we would have pitted Lewis as well’.

“In hindsight the two-stop was the better strategy. We didn’t want to lose position against Max because it was not clear whether we would beat Max on track.

“Then I said to him: ‘Why didn’t you pit Max for a second stop, you could have beaten us?’ He said: ‘Well, we weren’t sure whether we would be able to overtake Ricciardo’.

“Well hello, here we go, it’s exactly the same situation.

“There is no such thing as prioritising one driver versus the other,” Wolff added.

“We have always played it completely open, transparent and fair and this is how we are going to continue.”

 

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