The journey of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from karting colleagues and friends to big rivals in Mercedes was clearly documented to us through the media and watching the races, but we still didn’t know what exactly was going on behind closed doors after the racing weekend.
Their clashes on the track, most notably at Spa 2014 and Austria 2016, and the infamous crash at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, cemented this rivalry as one of the fiercest in Formula 1 history. But, according to Wolff, it was this intensity of rivalry that forced Mercedes to impose drastic penalties on its drivers for "messy" conflicts on the track.
“It was very difficult because I came to the team as a beginner, and Nico and Lewis have been playing this sport for a long time. Still, I managed to create an environment where they had to respect the team." "Sometimes with an 'iron fist' or 'iron grip,' but then they realized they couldn't let the team down," said Wolff, who joined Mercedes in 2013.
After the duel at the Belgian GP in 2014, Toto explained how he tried to motivate his drivers to behave correctly on the track: “The events of 2014, in which I felt there was selfish behavior, I told them that the next time they approached another car, i.e.
to their teammate, think of the Mercedes brand, think of the individuals on the team, think of Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes. " "And I've always made it clear that if it happens on a regular basis, there can be a penalty without any problems, which means missing the race.
" Wolff also commented on Mercedes ’risky move by pairing Hamilton and Rosberg in 2013, given their shared history. Although Mercedes had one of the biggest dominances at the time, Wolff said he was still convinced that the negativity between the drivers was ultimately a destructive rather than a positive force on the team.
“I’m not sure if that hostility actually brought the best of both, because it’s negativity after all, and you still have to be a team player. If the pre-race meeting is full of negativity because the two drivers are hostile to each other, then it will spill over to the rest of the team, and that is something I will never allow again, ”Toto explained.
Wolff seems to be a great authority in Mercedes and with his arrival, many things have changed. No wonder, considering that we know how organized Mercedes is