Wolff Encourages Lewis Hamilton & Max Verstappen to Do a Schumacher-Villeneuve at Abu Dhabi

Published 11/01/2021, 3:43 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crash out of the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


For the first time since 2016, a rivalry has surfaced, this time from the ever-dominant Lewis Hamilton and his newest challenge, Max Verstappen. The duo has engaged in a handful of extraordinary battles since the start of this season.

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Of course, most of the battles witnessed Hamilton and Verstappen scraping against each other, and yet not severe enough to cause a DNF to either of them. However, as F1 descended deeper into the season, the fear of losing the title unnoticeably entered the duo’s head; the starting point being Silverstone.

Well, there are definitely more such incidents in the offing, and Mercedes’ boss, Toto Wolff, is very much aware of it. But, is the Austrian going to stop Hamilton from doing anything intentional?

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Absolutely not. Wolff was blunt enough to affirm that he wouldn’t stop the 7-time world champion from replicating the 1997 Schumacher-Villeneuve moment at Abu Dhabi, assuming the scenario is similar enough.

If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years,” Wolff said in an interview with DailyMail.

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Max Verstappen took Lewis Hamilton out at Monza: Wolff

Wolff considered the Italian GP incident as an example. He reckoned that Verstappen intentionally took Hamilton out of the race as the Dutchman knew he would lose the Briton forever if he ends up ahead by the exit of turn 2.

What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out because he was about to overtake and he was quicker. And that is totally understandable,” Wolff said.

If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake? We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve, we saw it with Senna and Prost twice.

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 16, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

I would never give the instruction to crash into anyone else but if they go to that last race and whoever is in front wins the championship, they will be racing each other, hard.

Overall, in 2016, Hamilton opted against causing anything horrible for Nico Rosberg, as both were racing for the same team. However, that isn’t the case with Verstappen; his hands aren’t tied anymore.

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And both the drivers will look to pull each other down in Abu Dhabi, assuming the battle remains as close as it is now. So, are we in for a controversy-stricken end to this campaign? We’ll know in time.

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Rohit Kumar

1419 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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