Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas issued warnings by Mercedes chief
The Mercedes team principal has laid down a warning to drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas that the team will not be made to suffer if their personal rivalry begins to cause problems.
Toto Wolff knows all too well how negative relations in camp can sour the mood, having overseen Hamilton's years at loggerheads with former teammate Nico Rosberg.
Now a similar situation could rear its head, with Hamilton and Bottas fighting it out for the drivers' championship having both having secured two victories apiece so far this season.
Bottas leads Hamilton by a point after winning in Azerbaijan on Sunday, and could yet prove his closest challenger as the British driver looks to add to his five world titles.
With Ferrari struggling to get off the mark this season, Wolff is bracing himself for a showdown between his own drivers, with the scars of a previous rivalry still fresh in the memory.
And the Austrian, while lauding the respect that exists between his two drivers, insists disciplinary action will be taken if they overstep the mark - a scenario which, at this stage, appears a long way off.
"We wouldn't allow a relationship between our drivers to deteriorate to a point where it has a negative effect on the team," said Wolff after overseeing his team's record 100 per cent start to the new campaign in Baku.
"If that was the case after what happened between Nico and Lewis we would use yellow and red cards, but we are far away from that.
"We are lucky that Lewis and Valtteri have a very good relationship, and they get on with each other. There are not a lot of games in the background and I am happy about that.
"But we have to be conscious as we have seen relationships deteriorate in the past. We want them to be lions in the car, so you cannot expect the behaviour of sheep, but equally, the respect needs to stay there."
Hamilton left Baku on Sunday evening, and arrived back at his Monte Carlo apartment in the early hours, unwinding from his Formula One exploits by watching Game of Thrones.
The 25th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death at the San Marino Grand Prix will be marked on Wednesday, and Gerhard Berger, a close friend and former team-mate, recently claimed Hamilton is the only driver who has reached the same levels as the Brazilian.
"Whenever your name is mentioned in the same sentence as a legend like Senna it is always very humbling and an incredible feeling," said Hamilton, whose admiration for the triple world champion has been well-documented.
"Ayrton was unique in his own way and on his own level. I don't compare myself to anybody. I feel like I am in my own lane.
"But as drivers, we strive to be like the greats, and I strive to be great like the other legends that have gone before us."
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