Time for some rivalry and tension at Mercedes, says Wolff


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes only a genuine rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will push the team forward and put both men in contention for the title.

As the German squad raced its way to its fourth consecutive Constructors and Drivers title this year, Wolff underlined the revived harmonious atmosphere which prevailed at Mercedes between its two drivers, and which followed Hamilton's contentious relationship with Nico Rosberg in 2016.

But the Silver Arrows boss now wants some "disruption" to take hold between his drivers, even if it proves difficult to manage.

"I don't think we need to avoid a stressful situation," said Wolff.

"We need to acknowledge that, if two teammates can fight for race wins and a championship, that this will be a rivalry.

"And we need to be conscious and acknowledge that that is the case.

"We are not trying to build a new family here, we want to be the most effective racing team, and an effective racing team needs stress, needs tension, needs disruption as much as it needs calmness and a positive attitude and mindset.

"But like everywhere in life you want to have the mix of both, probably the recipe for success."

Wolff underlined Bottas' performance in the latter part of the season, as the Finn pulled himself out of a mid-year slump.

The Mercedes boss believes Bottas' recovery and the strength of character he displayed to achieve it could one day prove to have been a pivotal moment in the driver's career.

"The best ones are the ones that recover from bad moments. And maybe in a few years we will look back and say this was an important moment for his racing," said the Austrian.

"He's a hard Finn. I could never see, visually, that it was impacting him – he said that, but I think with the strength of his character, he crept back.

"And every race, there was better performances, and Brazil the qualifying was good, the race less so, but he knew that, and then he delivered an exceptional weekend in Abu Dhabi.

"I think carrying positive momentum with the race win through the winter, after a difficult time, is probably for him just what the doctor ordered."

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