Hamilton and Verstappen came to blows at the Italian Grand Prix in a race-ending crash that marked the second major flashpoint between the championship protagonists this season.

The pair previously tangled on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, though on that occasion Hamilton was able to recover to win the race while Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks following a 50G impact with the barriers.

“These two are racing for a drivers’ championship and you can’t expect them to have velvet gloves on,” Wolff said. “That’s why we are going to see harsh moments like this I believe.

“Obviously I’m bias and am looking at the whole race as it’s panned out and sometimes you just need to bail out. This is what Lewis did on Lap 1. Could Max have done it? Probably he would have lost a position.

“So I think it’s very difficult and dangerous to comment with the bias you have, obviously cheering for your driver and team.

“These two know what they do, they have it under control and I guess there was a good chance to chase the McLarens, that were there on merit and score more points.”

Wolff said he feels both drivers “pretty much know what they do” and would not be surprised to see more clashes in the remaining eight races of the season.

“If they both wanted to avoid collisions they would have had less collisions,” he added. “If they don’t avoid collisions because they feel it is right not to bail out or not give room, then we will have more. We are not sitting in the cars.”

Hamilton conceded position to Verstappen at Turn 1 at Imola and Barcelona in response to aggressive moves made by the Red Bull driver and also took to the escape road as they battled for position on the opening lap at Monza.

However, at Silverstone and later in the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton stood his ground and contact followed.

Wolff believes the dynamic between the pair has changed due to Hamilton becoming less willing to back down during wheel-to-wheel combat, something he says the team are “discussing in detail”.

“I think the change of approach is that Lewis pretty much decided not to bail out anymore when he thinks that the corner is his,” Wolff explained.

“It needs two to tango, it needs two to understand each other on track and when a collision can be avoided.

“But they are in the cars, we have no influence on the driving and they will know much better than us how the other one is racing yourself and it’s interesting to watch.”

Despite the growing rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen, Wolff is confident the championship contenders can maintain their respect for each other.

“The very good ones recognise the other very good ones,” he continued. “And therefore, from a driving standpoint there will be a lot of respect with each other, like with some others on track.

“The personalities are very different, the lives are very different but that has no interference on the respect of the ability of the other guy in the car.”