While Formula One Mercedes AMG teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are busy throwing hats at each other and upping their rivalry on track, boss Toto Wolff is basically sitting back to enjoy the show.
The anger was on full display at the United States Grand Prix last weekend, as Hamilton shoved polesitter Rosberg off track to take the top spot in the first corner of the race. After Hamilton won the race and clinched his third championship, he tossed Rosberg a podium hat—only to have it thrown right back at him. Rosberg called Hamilton’s first-corner move “extremely aggressive” after the race at Circuit of the Americas, but Wolff told Sky Sports F1 that he “actually quite enjoyed” the hat-throwing incident.
“It’s a great situation, it’s what the sport needs - emotions,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1. “Do you want me or do you want us to put the hand on them and say ‘don’t show any emotions, we don’t want any controversy’? It’s the opposite, it’s great. Somebody who won a championship and won a race and the other one lost one and was frustrated.
“It’s the psychological game which always happens between team-mates who compete on an equal level.”
Wolff hopes that psychological game will help the Mercedes group stay ahead of both its Ferrari and Red Bull challengers. For now, the tactic is doing a decent job—despite being less than thrilled with each other, Hamilton and Rosberg stayed right near the front of the U.S. Grand Prix field throughout the race and swept the top two spots.
As anyone who’s followed F1 this year knows that the success wasn’t limited to that weekend. Looking at the season thus far, the teammates are two of only three total race winners—Hamilton with 10, Rosberg with three and Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel claiming the other three.
Wolff told Sky Sports that he did talk to both Hamilton and Rosberg before the weekend in Mexico, but did so separately (which was probably a good idea—if we do get them together, let’s take all projectile objects out of the room):
“The discussions need to take place and you need to consider the particular situation. Turn One was definitely a hard situation for both of them. One trying to make the outside in difficult conditions and other one pushing hard against it.”
OK, so they can get aggressive, but they just have to talk about it with the bossman after. Got it. No word on if the pro-rivalry comments have any relation to Hamilton’s pretend Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling training earlier this week. (This is a joke.)
Ouch—now that looks a bit more painful than a hat. Guess we wouldn’t necessarily need the projectile objects after all.
Why can’t we all just get along, Mercedes guys? Does that not win championships or something?
Photo credit: AP Photo/John Locher
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