Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg will be racing for more than just championship points at Monza this weeked. In the wake of their collision at Spa and escalating feud, both drivers’ futures at Mercedes appear to be on the line.
Team principle Tito Wolff gave his pilots a public warning ahead of the Italian Grand Prix and made it clear that the pair could not go clashing on and off the track as they have done at recent races.
“We have made it very clear this is an unacceptable scenario for us, for both of them. We don’t want this to happen ever again,” he said in reference to the collision and subsequent finger pointing at Spa.
“If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that,” he added in an interview with the BBC. “We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up.”
Whether it acts as a wake-up call to the English and German drivers remains to be seen. There was an “uneasy truce” between them when they appeared together before the Italian Grand Prix, says The Independent.
But it was easy to see through the smokescreen. “While their words gave little away, their body language revealed a simmering rivalry in which the cracks have barely been papered over,” says Daniel Johnson in the Daily Telegraph.
“From what they did and did not say, it was clear the two remain implacably opposed.”
So who is on top? Rosberg may lead the drivers championship, but Kevin Eason of The Times says there was no doubt about who took the points in press conference on Thursday.
Hamilton appeared “at ease with himself and his world”, he writes. He may have been the injured party in Spa but despite the collision that effectively ended his race it was he who “emerged from the wreckage having got one over on his team-mate”.
Rosberg, on the other hand, “has been wearing sackcloth and ashes” ever since. He looked “haunted” as he fielded “question after question” about the incident, for which he was fined and reprimanded by his own team. “You could see his discomfort.” ·