Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff revealed he had told warring team-mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to avoid a collision in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix won from pole position by the 30-year-old German.
Wolff said the drivers were made “absolutely aware” of how to behave before the race in which newly-crowned world champion Hamilton resisted any temptation to mount a wheel-banging challenge to Rosberg, as he did at the first corner of the United States Grand prix in Texas seven days earlier.
He said he had reviewed a video of their first corner battle in Austin “30 times” before deciding that “my conclusion is both Lewis and Nico race each other hard and it was tricky circumstances in a difficult corner.
“They were side-by-side, with maybe even Nico having a tiny advantage on the outside. It was hard racing. Do I want to see cars touching? No, I don’t want to see that.
“How many pages of rules do we need to come up with to cover every situation? We have had the conversation about Turn One.
“It doesn’t need to be dragged out in the media because I’m not the headmaster. They are the two best drivers out there. At a certain stage, responsibility needs to be in their hands.
“Sometimes it’s harder, sometimes it’s trickier for us, but the rule remains the same — we don’t need controversy in team, we don’t need tension.
“We’ve 1,200 people who are the best in the world in this business and everyone needs to understand that.”
Hamilton appeared to race with less than his usual aggressive sense of purpose in Mexico and was unhappy at being asked to pit for a second change of tyres against his will late in the race, after Rosberg had pitted.
Afterwards, apparently back “on-message”, he said he understood the decision because it was made on “safety grounds, as they were concerned about that”.
“It was a good fun day today and really great to be here,” said Hamilton.
“Nico did a great job and I did all I could to win, but when I got close I lost down-force and lost grip and it was pretty slippery anyway on this circuit.
“The tyres? It was irrelevant really. They were concerned about safety and took the decision and that was it. You just have to do it.” – Agence France-Presse