Mercedes suggests emphasis is on Verstappen to avoid future clashes

User Rating: 1 / 5

Star ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suggested it is up to Max Verstappen to avoid future collisions with Lewis Hamilton after the British Grand Prix.

The top two in the Formula 1 championship had their first significant coming together at Silverstone as Hamilton tagged the Red Bull driver on the entry of Copse corner on the opening lap.

The fallout from the controversial incident will continue in Hungary after Red Bull lodged a request to review the penalty given to the Briton, who won the race despite serving a 10-second penalty during his only pitstop.

And Wolff admits the rivalry between the teams is also more tense, heading to the final race before the summer break.

"I think that the intensity has increased since Silverstone," the Austrian told

Also Read:

"It certainly will not be the last time they fight for position and hopefully they can do it in a sportsmanlike way. If not, we will see more collisions."

FIA race director Michael Masi has indicated he may talk with both Hamilton and Verstappen to discuss driving standards for the rest of the season.

However, the Mercedes chief made clear his belief that the only reason why the pair hadn't crashed before was Hamilton's risk awareness.

"I think part of his success is not only his race craft but also his maturity," said Wolff.

"Long-term strategy is important in order to win championships because you need to score points.

"It has come to a situation that ceding a track position has been part of the pattern of the last few races. This time neither of them conceded and it ended up in a heavy collision."

With a then 33-point deficit to Verstappen in the championship, now just eight, it has been suggested Hamilton had to prove he could go wheel-to-wheel with the Dutchman.

"I think he's much beyond proving a point," Wolff retorted. "He is a 99-time race winner and seven-time world champion. There is nothing Lewis Hamilton needs to prove to anybody anymore."

As for how the pundits hope the championship battle will proceed, ex-Red Bull driver Mark Webber hopes for more of the same.

"It’s brilliant, exactly what we want," the Australian said on a W Series media call.

"I think it was one of the best first laps we’ve seen in a long time. It’s been coming, they’ve had some brilliant wheel-to-wheel battles in Barcelona, Imola, Bahrain and we all knew this was coming.

"Bring on more of it!"

While 1996 world champion Damon Hill does fear the situation could escalate further.

“I think they need to cool it a bit. I think they were both going at it scarily aggressively in that race,” he said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“I think it was a product of the sprint on Saturday that gave knowledge to Mercedes that if Max got out in front, you wouldn’t see him for dust and I think they knew they had to get ahead.

“So it was a combination of factors that might have made Lewis a little more desperate and aggressive, and Max as well, because that opening half a lap was possibly the most exciting and daring and also slightly risky opening lap I’ve seen in I don’t know how long.

“You’ve seen the replays and you see on social media, people in the crowd have got footage of Max flying towards them in the grandstands and that car was moving really fast. Max did take a hell of a whack.

“So it was all a bit risky really, and I think we were lucky we didn’t have an injury.”