Lewis Hamilton and Wolff have 'a good relationship' says pundit
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Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have been told to “grow up” as their off-track squabble rages on in the background of this thrilling F1 title race. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are going all-out to beat each other every race weekend, and their team principals have struck up something of a rivalry of their own as Mercedes and Red Bull fight for the constructors’ title.
After the Grand Prix in the USA and Mexico, Verstappen had opened up a decent gap over Hamilton and Red Bull had taken a huge chunk out of Mercedes’ lead.
But two mammoth weekends from Hamilton in Brazil and Qatar have brought him right back into contention, while only five points separate the two teams in the other title race.
In the tightest title race for a number of years, it’s understandably that tensions are high among the protagonists – so much rides on what happens between now and when the chequered flag is waved in Abu Dhabi.
But the incessant squabbling between Wolff and Horner is in danger of turning nasty and putting additional pressure on the drivers, according to Johnny Herbert.
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“In many respects, you want to tell them to grow up. It’s like eight-year-olds squabbling in the school playground,” the British racing legend told the Sunday Mirror.
“One’s pointing at the other going, ‘Look what he’s doing.’
“From the outside, it might look like it’s disrupting the harmony in the team – but the engineers won’t be listening to any of that noise.
“They’ll be working their socks off to find that crucial edge for their drivers.”
Wolff and Horner have been involved in a friendly tit-for-tat all season, as their teams have played out a thrilling fight for the two titles on offer.
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But it has become somewhat uglier in recent weeks, with fall-outs over high-profile incidents involving Hamilton and Verstappen and penalties handed out to their star drivers.
Wolff has refused to rule out more of the same over the next couple of weeks, and admitted there could be more off-track drama in Saudi Arabia.
“Let’s go to Saudi Arabia, and maybe we’ll hear some comments again,” the Austrian said when quizzed on the subject.
“In a way, the debates that are being kicked off or launched, I cannot follow any more.
“I have taken the decision for myself and the team that we’re struggling to keep up with commenting on the rumours that are being made from that side.”
Meanwhile, Herbert was brave enough to predict which of the two title-chasing racers will be able to ignore all the noise and come out on top.
While Verstappen has the advantage of a slender lead in the standings heading into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he believes Hamilton has the know-how to safely navigate the final two races of the year.
“The pressure will be building on the drivers’ shoulders.” Herbert added.
“It’s unknown territory for Max. The other fella has plenty of experience in the bank. And that’s why I think Lewis will bring it home.”
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