Hamilton and Verstappen need to avoid 'messy situation,' says Wolff

Toto Wolff urges Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to avoid a ‘messy situation’ as title race goes to the wire in Abu Dhabi… and he warns Mercedes to ‘keep both feet on the ground’ despite three straight race wins

  • Mercedes principal Toto Wolff wants to see a clean title fight out in Abu Dhabi 
  • Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are level on points before the final race
  • Wolff wants to avoid a ‘messy situation’ like the one witnessed in Saudi Arabia
  • Hamilton and Verstappen collided when the Red Bull braked hard on Lap 37 

Toto Wolff has called on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to play fair in their ‘all or nothing’ title fight in Abu Dhabi this weekend. 

The Mercedes team principal has witnessed first hand how tough a battle it has been on track between the two drivers all season.

Having controversially clashed on Lap 37 at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, eventually won by Hamilton, Wolff wants to see a clean fight in the finale in Abu Dhabi this Sunday.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (left) wants a clean fight for the F1 title between Lewis Hamilton (right) and Max Verstappen as they go head-to-head for glory at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina

Verstappen (left) and Hamilton have already been involved in a number of collisions this year

Hamilton ran into his rival after Verstappen was ordered to give the lead back in Saudi Arabia

 Another collision in Abu Dhabi will lead to a ‘messy situation’ for the title, believes Wolff

‘I would hope that [Saudi Arabia] has enough repercussions that everybody’s going to learn from it and adapt for the final race in Abu Dhabi,’ Wolff told F1.com. 

‘I think that similar driving, if it were deemed by the stewards to be over the line, would be also penalised by the stewards in Abu Dhabi and that could well end in a messy situation for everybody.

‘And I don’t think the championship has deserved a result that’s influenced by a collision so I very much in that case trust the self-regulating system… the quicker car with the quicker driver should win the championship and not by taking each other off.’

There have been ferocious crashes, such as this one which occurred at Monza in September

Tensions escalated when Hamilton (left) sent Verstappen into the barriers at Silverstone

Verstappen had to retire and was taken to hospital for checks after being sent into the barriers at Silverstone following a tangle with Hamilton. 

At Monza in September, Hamilton was fortunate to escape without serious damage when a collision caused Verstappen’s Red Bull to go over the top of his head, kept at bay by the halo device. 

Mercedes have wrestled back control in the race for the world championship and have the momentum heading to Yas Marina. 

Hamilton has won the last three races but Wolff, who has overseen Mercedes’ stranglehold on the sport in recent years, is wary of allowing complacency to set in in his garage. 

‘It is all or nothing in Abu Dhabi,’ he added. 

Verstappen (right) and Hamilton (left) have put on a show this year but Wolff wants a fair finale

Mercedes and Hamilton have the momentum having won the last three races on the calendar

‘Whoever wins the race wins the championship and therefore it is important to keep both feet on the ground, keep working, and hopefully bring the performance that we had [in Saudi Arabia] on to Abu Dhabi.’  

Race director Michael Masi told Sportsmail that any major collision between the sparring title rivals could result in penalties that alter the championship. 

‘I can’t control the actions of the two individuals, only they can,’ Masi said. 

‘But within the regulations we have penalties, be it time or grid penalties. In addition, the International Sporting Code has provision for the stewards to disqualify a competitor or dock championship points.

‘So, yes, Max could be deducted points, as could any team. We hope it isn’t necessary, but it is one of the tools available. 

‘I will remind all the teams and drivers of these provisions.’   

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