Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists he will do all he can to ensure Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ relationship remains positive to stave off the threat of Ferrari.
It seems as though Hamilton will not have things all his own way in 2019 as Bottas leads the drivers’ standings by one point from his team-mate.
The Mercedes duo have shared the first four grands prix, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third on 52 points and team-mate Charles Leclerc fifth with 47.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is sandwiched in between the pair with 51 in what may well turn out to be the closest title race for years. There is a sense that Ferrari have yet to really show their stuff and pre-season promise has not translated into race wins.
That has led many to think it will be the Mercedes drivers who will be the main protagonist this year and Wolff is determined that there will be no repeat of the frosty relationship that marked Nico Rosberg’s 2016 Formula 1 triumph over his colleague.
“You have two drivers that have the ambition and the ability to win a championship,” he said.
“It’s up to us together with them to be very aware of that situation and remember that very quickly Vettel or Leclerc could be back into the game, that we mustn’t be carried away with the four first results – there are 21 races to do.
“That definitely the relationship matters in order to avoid what we went through between Nico and Lewis.” Hamilton is 1.57 to win the title, with Bottas on offer at 5.25 and Vettel priced at 7.50.