F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has likened the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as a “soap opera”, admitting the battle is “just what the doctor ordered”.
Hamilton surrendered the lead of the championship in Monaco after entering the weekend with a 14-point cushion, before Verstappen’s victory catapulted the Dutchman to the top by four points heading into round six in Azerbaijan.
Victory meant Red Bull were also able to take control of the Constructors’ standings, albeit by just a single point, a huge shift in the seven years of Mercedes supremacy.
But the ‘war of words’ ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix saw the games begin, with Hamilton telling the media: “I think I’ve done well to avoid all the incidents [with Max] so far.
“I think perhaps he feels he has a lot to prove. I’m not necessarily in the same boat there, which is ultimately why I have the stats that I have.”
The comments were dismissed by Verstappen, claiming the victory showed that “actions always speak louder than words”.
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The Dutchman concluded that he thought it was “a good lesson after this weekend” and that “you have to talk on track”.
In the aftermath, Wolff addressed Verstappen’s comments, telling the media: “It’s great that we have a fight between two outstanding drivers and the championship has swung in both directions.
“Things are being said that are good for entertainment and I would attribute that sentence to the entertainment factor which is great to talk about it and write about it.
“This is action on the track and soap [opera] off the track.”
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Wolff added: “We love the battle, It’s just what the doctor ordered after the past seven years. We also like that Ferrari was in the game [in Monaco] and no doubt McLaren we will see performing in qualifying and the race.”
Hamilton agreed with his boss, but refused to be drawn into any childish slinging matches.
Responding to his rival, Hamilton said smiling: “I am not playing mind games. I couldn’t care less. They did a great job this weekend and that’s that.
“We’ve had some good races also. There are 18 races to go. I’m not going to [say more]. It’s childish in the end when you start getting into a war of words.”
Hamilton looks to claw back the points he lost in Monaco in Baku, Azerbaijan for round six of the Formula One World Championship.
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