Wolff: Hamilton/Rosberg 'like enemies'

By on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has changed to the extent that the duo are 'like enemies'.

Mercedes has been the dominant force in Formula 1 this season, with Hamilton and Rosberg having claimed 10 victories between them out of a possible 13.

Rosberg currently leads Hamilton by 22 points with six rounds of the season remaining.

"It has changed from, let's say, an almost amicable relationship at the beginning of the season to a very intense moment, where it was almost like realising these two are enemies competing for the world title," Wolff told BBC Sport.

"It's also a learning process. These boys have been calibrated their whole life that their main priority is to win the drivers' championship in F1. And here they go - they are in the same car, competing against each other for that trophy and one is going to win and one is going to fail.

"This is a new experience for them - a difficult experience maybe."

The duo's relationship reached a low point in Belgium when Rosberg clipped Hamilton on the second lap of the race, causing the Brit to retire. Wolff says that Mercedes is continuing to allow its drivers race because 'that's the way it should be', but concedes that the squad cannot afford not to win the championship.

"It is so intense and we are breaking new ground in letting the boys race in the way we do," he said. "So we are bound to make mistakes. I think that's the way it should be. You can be a politician or you can express your frustration.

"I don't know which one is right or wrong, but as a matter of fact it doesn't matter because if we lose the two championships with the cars we have, we have failed. We would be a laughing stock - and rightly so.

"And if we win, people are going to remember we had difficult situations and we managed them probably in the right way."

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