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Wolff will keep drivers in check

PICTURED: Left to right, Valtteri Bottas, Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton

MERCEDES CHIEF Toto Wolff says despite the cordial relationship between driver Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas he’ll be keeping an eye on both as they battle for the 2019 drivers title.

Current champion Hamilton, lies in second place on the drivers rankings, one point behind team mate Bottas.

As the two went wheel to wheel off the line through three corners before Bottas got in front at the last race in Baku, memories of a not so fonder relationship between Hamilton and former driver Nico Rosberg were the talk of the town.

Everything went well in the race from a Mercedes point of view however, with the Silver Arrows ending up with a fourth one-two finish from the first four races.

After the Hamilton conceded that his team mate had done a better job during those intense early moments, sentiments in line with the respectful manner which the two have consistently referred to each other.

CELEBRATIONS: Hamilton and Bottas

Nevertheless, Wolff says he is watching the situation carefully. “It reminds me a little bit of the situation [in 2014-2016, when Hamilton and Rosberg fought almost exclusively for the title]," said Wolff.

“You have two drivers that have the ambition and the ability to win a championship, and it’s up to us together with them to be very aware of that situation and remember that very quickly [Ferrari’s Sebastian] Vettel or [Charles] Leclerc could be back into the game and that definitely the relationship matters in order to avoid what we went through between Nico and Lewis.

“We are lucky that they have a very good relationship. They get on with each other. There is not a lot of games in the background, and I am very happy about that. But we have to be conscious as we have seen a relationship deteriorate.

“Both of the drivers have an ambition to win the championship. We want them to be lions in the car, so you can’t expect the behaviour of a sheep. But equally the respect needs to stay in there.

“We are very strong as a team and we wouldn’t allow a relationship between drivers to deteriorate to a point that it has a negative effect on the team. If that would ever be the case again, after Nico and Lewis, we will ensure we would issue yellow and red cards. But we are far, we are not there.”

Bottas and Hamilton have taken two wins apiece with their next race weekend in Barcelona May 10-12. Last year the two finished in first and second with Hamilton the victor.

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