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Merc duo: 'Fight, but no hara kiri'

2014-04-10 12:01

'KEEP UP THE SHOW, BOYS': Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg (L) and Lewis Hamilton have been told by team boss Toto Wolff to keep up the competitive fight, but too be careful not to take each other out. Image: AFP/Marwan Naamani

LONDON, England - Mercedes has set the rules of engagement for its Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for their future wheel-to-wheel battles.

The Mercedes pair thrilled the F1 world during the 2014 Bahrain GP, despite boss urging them to "bring both cars home".

The team has denied its drivers "ignored team orders for appearance only and would quietly curb that sort of behaviour behind the scenes ahead of future races".

The fight in Bahrain was also timely for F1 in the wake of hefty criticism of the controversial new rules.

BEST RACE, EVER

Rosberg said: "I am so happy the race was so well received by the fans because the welfare of the sport is very important to me. In my eyes, the criticism of the new regulations was very unfair, especially so early on, and the negativity was getting louder and louder.

"For me, there was no better way to silence it than to deliver one of the most exciting races in the history of Formula 1."

Team director Toto Wolff insisted Bahrain was not simply a "one-off".

Wolff told Sport Bild magazine: "They can fight against each other as long as there are no hara kiri-manoeuvres."

"So you're not driving with the same aggressiveness against your own team mate as you would against the others," he explained.

He said Mercedes' attitude to "eam orders" was important, given that both Hamilton and Rosberg were given equal status inside the team, whose 2014 cars are currently utterly dominant.

'HAMILTON CAN RACE FREELY'

Wolff said: "We are here to race, we have two really good drivers who can win races and deserve to be champion."

Christian Danner, adriver turned commentator, said Mercedes' approach would be welcomed by many. Danner told German television NTV: "Mercedes is very dominant but in contrast to what we have seen over the years with Ferrari and Red Bull, Rosberg and Hamilton can race freely.

"This is not only a very brave decision, but also the right decision for the sport."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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