Toto Wolff has warned Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton may crash into him, saying nothing is off-limits in a championship battle.
Verstappen and Hamilton have been caught up in a title rivalry for the ages. It has also had its share of controversies, with both drivers crashing into each other on two occasions.
Neither driver wants to yield any ground to the other, and given the tense and competitive nature of the battle, it is completely understandable. It is all gearing up for an epic conclusion, but the Mercedes Team Principal has just raised the stakes for it.
Wolff warned Verstappen that Hamilton may crash into him at any point in the races that remain, and said that no possibility can be ruled out in this situation.
“If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi, and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years,” Wolff told Mail Plus.
“What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out, because he was about to overtake and he was quicker. And that is totally understandable. If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what other tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake?
“We’ve seen it with (Michael) Schumacher and (Jacques) Villeneuve, we saw it with (Ayrton) Senna and (Alain) Prost twice. I don’t think you can control it, I don’t think you want to control it because they are the gladiators in their machines. You wouldn’t want to have calmed the gladiators in the arena 2,000 years ago. We will not interfere.”
All to play for
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points, but everyone including the Dutchman knows that it is not a safe lead at all. There are 133 points up for grabs, and still all to play for.
Both drivers will be aware that consistency is the key, and that any DNF or bad result can eliminate a season’s worth of hard work in one go.