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Toto Wolff hints at future problems with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Toto Wolff has suggested Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s working relationship at Mercedes could deteriorate in the future, describing the pair as “two alpha drivers” after the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows managed to secure a brilliant one-two in Sao Paulo, with Russell leading the rest of the field over the line to record the first Grand Prix victory of his F1 career.

It was also a memorable weekend for Hamilton, who battled back to claim second place despite sustaining damage in a tangle with Max Verstappen during the early stages of the 71-lap competition. Wolff praised both Mercedes drivers after the checkered flag, but the 50-year-old’s comments seemed to hint at the possibility of a rift between the pair if they find themselves fighting each other on a constant basis.

“They are both alpha drivers, which is good,” Wolff said in Brazil. “We don’t want a puppy in the car. We’ll handle this the best we can.”

Although there is little to suggest that Russell and Hamilton could come to blows at Mercedes as things stand, having two ‘alpha’ drivers in a team rarely works out well and the Silver Arrows experienced this for themselves in 2016. Hamilton with childhood friend Nico Rosberg quickly soured as they emerged as the two standout contenders for that year’s Drivers’ Championship title, with a series of on-track tangles hampering their own efforts against each other.

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Mercedes decided to reduce the chances of another team rivalry by appointing Valtteri Bottas to replace Rosberg upon his retirement after taking season-ending honors six years ago, but it seems the Silver Arrows may be poised to make a different decision. . approach with respect to Hamilton and Russell. Wolff previously admitted he can warm up between the two behind closed doors, but insisted internal competition is not always a bad thing if it helps both drivers perform at the highest level.

“It can get hot because the competition is on and we allow it, the main thing will always be good character,” Wolff said. sky sports f1 back in July. “Nothing vicious, nothing sneaky, that’s what’s going on between the two of them.

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“I’m sure there will be discussions behind closed doors, but that’s what you expect from racing drivers. You don’t want to have a lion in the car and a cub outside. Their characters are good, their personalities are good, we all know what. what we have to achieve.”

Hamilton currently trails Russell in the Drivers’ Championship standings by a 25-point margin ahead of this weekend’s final race in Abu Dhabi, with the former needing a miracle to overtake his Mercedes team-mate before he the season comes to an end. Only time will tell how his working relationship will play out in the coming years, with the German team desperate to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for titles in 2023 after coming up empty this time.

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