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Wolff expects Mercedes driver rivalry to boil over at some point

ESPN Staff
April 1, 2014 « No 'magical change' for Bahrain - Alonso | Williams targeting a podium in Bahrain »
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have a win apiece to their names this year © Getty Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it is inevitable that the rivalry between his two drivers will boil over at some point this season.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have won one race each so far and look set to engage in a tight battle at the top of the drivers' championship this year. Wolff said the team has spent a lot of time discussing situations that might require team orders to tame the rivalry, but admits at some point the two drivers are likely to fall out.

"We are spending quite some time discussing those things, discussing scenarios and discussing situations," Wolff said. "It's Mercedes and it's the team that comes first, but one day it will be rubbish. It's all academic and we will run into situations where we have to manage - they are still very competitive creatures.

"The intra-team rivalry has been there since the beginning. It's been there since last January. What makes a difference is that these guys have known each other for such a long time and they have a fair relationship with each other, but it doesn't mean that they are not extremely competitive and that they will try to use every advantage they can.

"What is important is that we try to make it very clear from the beginning that the team has come from very far off, we have been fifth [in 2012], and you saw it last year in Malaysia that we ran into a situation that we didn't manage in the way we should have managed because we were surprised how competitive we were, compared to our own feeling."

Wolff is also wary of the threat from Red Bull after Sebastian Vettel finished third behind Hamilton and Rosberg in Malaysia.

"You cannot be complacent because we have seen a Red Bull right up our arse here," he said. "If you consider they have missed out on two thirds of the testing it was a necessary wake-up call for us.

"In this digital world it is so easy to forget so quickly what happened yesterday. We are still speaking about four-time world champions and here is us winning two races. We have a package that seems to be very good this season, but it is not consolidated yet and not sustainable yet.

"Nevertheless, I don't want to diminish the work that has been done back in Stuttgart, Brackley, Brixworth and Kuala Lumpur for our fuels. But let's keep quiet because they are bouncing back from what looked to be horrific testing."

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