Toto Wolff says he doesn’t think the Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas Mercedes F1 in-fight has that animosity level that was found with Nico Rosberg.
In modern day F1, Hamilton and Rosberg’s title fight can be said as one of the biggest and maybe even the ugliest battles for a fan to either enjoy or frown upon. Considering that Mercedes has ruled at the top, it could only be an in-team fight rather than outside.
It culminated in such a way that Hamilton and Rosberg are mere professionals now despite having started as good friends since their younger days. With Rosberg winning the 2016 F1 title, the battle ended after he decided to retire and move away.
The move certainly sent shockwave in the whole of the motor racing community but the one which was needed for the tussle to not go out of hands. Fast forward to the 2019 season, it looks like Mercedes is again in the situation where teammates are fighting.
With Ferrari not looking to challenge hugely and Bottas making a statement, the Finn is well and truly a solid threat to Hamilton for the 2019 F1 championship. With five 1-2 finishes for Mercedes, things are pointing towards an in-team battle.
But Wolff, who played witness to the ugly spat of old, throws in the point that he doesn’t see the same animosity between Hamilton and Bottas as he saw between Hamilton and Rosberg. He also stressed that both have been reminded who they are racing for.
“I think it is very different because I am not sure….we know everything historically about Nico and Lewis, lots of emotions built up and it formed a rivalry and it became….all animosity happened,” said Wolff to the media.
“I don’t see Valtteri and Lewis in that corner. There is still a lot of respect between the two of them – on-track and off-track. There is a good positive working environment that they are part of and we keep emphasising about Mercedes.
“And also the big team and they acknowledge that. At the end, racing can be hard sometimes and we expect it to not be an easy ride because we acknowledge that they are fighting for the championship, but they have been really good team players.”
So far, it has been a positive ride but things will only get tougher once they find themselves in the actual fight once the threat from Ferrari is officially out. Hamilton has been in the same multiple times but it will be interesting to see how Bottas reacts.