Wolff: Verstappen, Vettel, Leclerc battles were 'borderline dirty'

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Toto Wolff was delighted with how Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas handled their intra-team battle at Silverstone but noted some marginal moves on the track among the pair's rivals, but the Mercedes boss wasn't complaining.

Mercedes' Silver Arrows led the charge on Sunday in the opening stages of the British Grand Prix, but Leclerc and Verstappen provided much of the entertainment, with the Dutchman snapping at the heels of his rival lap after lap and the Scuderia charger defending his ground for all its worth.

As the race developed, Sebastian Vettel then found himself hounding the Dutchman, until a misjudged braking maneuver led him to clout the back of the Red Bull and spin both cars off the track.

While Wolff was mainly focused on the battle involving his own drivers, the Austrian didn't miss any of the intense action that was taking place behind.

"I thought it was very good racing between the two of them, certainly very entertaining, nobody could say that there wasn't hard defending, but it wasn't dirty," Wolff said, alluding to Hamilton and Bottas.

"What I think we've seen between some of the other drivers is borderline dirty.

"There is always dirtiness we want to see out there in racing and it is good when it is drivers going against each other but not in the same team.

"This is exactly what we debated in the morning [before the race]. I don't want to see any of this in an intra-team battle and I have no doubt they know how to race each other.

"We have seen that on many occasions between Lewis and Valtteri, they respect each other off track and they respect each other on track, to take it another step it is fair enough if you race against another team."

While Hamilton and Bottas mutually kept themselves out of harm's way during their early duel, the tussle was nevertheless intense, especially on lap 4, when the Brit gained an edge over his teammate at Brooklands only for Bottas to fight back and retake the lead.

Hamilton's comments on the move reflected Wolff's prescriptions when it comes to teammates battling each other.

"I think we want to race wheel-to-wheel and tough," said Hamilton. "When you’re racing with a teammate, it’s on a different level.

"If I were racing a Ferrari, you take more risks. Still respectful, but you can lean on them a bit more but as teammates, we sit down at the beginning of the race, we talk about Turn 1 and how we’re going to respect each other, make sure we don’t collide.

"And even when I overtook him and he was coming back, I could have swept across the front and blocked him – but that’s not the right thing to do.

"Ultimately it enabled him to get back past – but that’s racing. It was really fair, and it was great."

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