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Merc downplays 'Prost-Senna' saga

2014-05-30 08:34

THE NEW SENNA/PROST? Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and team mate Nico Rosberg's intense rivalry has been compared to that of Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna during the 1980's. Image: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulate

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Lewis Hamilton's rivalry with team mate Nico Rosberg is quite different to Formula 1's famous 1980's feud between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.

Wolff said: "It's an intense relationship but this intensity is normal."

Rosberg won the 2014 Monaco GP (May 25) race to end Hamilton's run of five wins in a row and to reclaimed the overall Drivers' championship lead.

'LET THE BOYS PLAY'

However the cracks in the relationship were more evident than ever, with Hamilton suggesting the German had deliberately denied him a chance to take pole position by running off track in the final seconds of qualifying.

Mercedes has been dominant throughout the 2014 season, winning all the races to date, with five successive one-two finishes from six starts, all from pole.

Wolff said: "We have seen a lot of talk about their relationship but that's not the key thing for a successful campaign. It's a job, not a holiday, and the drivers need to work with, and for, the team first of all.

"There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico. But the situation here is very different. The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete. We let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them."

'I WAS JOKING'

Wolff said both knew the team would not tolerate any incident between them and reminded them they were representing nearly 300 000 Mercedes employees around the world.

Hamilton played up to the Senna references at the weekend when he threatened after qualifying to take a leaf out of the late Brazilian's book.

The remark was interpreted by some as referring to Senna's title-deciding collisions with McLaren team mate Prost but Sunday's race passed without incident and Hamilton later told reporters he was joking.

"I was seriously joking. The priority is the team," said Hamilton, now four points behind Rosberg.

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