Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be warned with red cards if relationship sours

F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have been warned by Mercedes that they will be subjected to a red card if their relationship turns sour.

Hamilton and Bottas have two victories apiece this season, with the latter one point clear in the championship after he took the chequered flag in Azerbaijan on Sunday.

Bottas could prove Hamilton’s closest challenger in the British driver’s quest for a sixth world crown with Ferrari continuing to falter.

After the opening four races, Sebastian Vettel is already 35 points off the title summit, with team-mate Charles Leclerc 40 points behind Bottas.

The scars of Hamilton’s fractious rivalry with Nico Rosberg still haunt Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal.

And the Austrian, while lauding the respect that exists between his two drivers, insists disciplinary action will be taken if they overstep the mark – a scenario which, at this stage, appears a long way off.

“We wouldn’t allow a relationship between our drivers to deteriorate to a point where it has a negative effect on the team,” said Wolff after overseeing his team’s record 100 per cent start to the new campaign in Baku.

“If that was the case after what happened between Nico and Lewis we would use yellow and red cards, but we are far away from that.

“We are lucky that Lewis and Valtteri have a very good relationship, and they get on with each other. There are not a lot of games in the background and I am happy about that.


“But we have to be conscious as we have seen relationships deteriorate in the past. We want them to be lions in the car, so you cannot expect the behaviour of sheep, but equally, the respect needs to stay there.”

Hamilton left Baku on Sunday evening, and arrived back at his Monte Carlo apartment in the early hours, unwinding from his Formula One exploits by watching Game of Thrones.

The 25th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death at the San Marino Grand Prix will be marked on Wednesday, and Gerhard Berger, a close friend and former team-mate, recently claimed Hamilton is the only driver who has reached the same levels as the Brazilian.


“Whenever your name is mentioned in the same sentence as a legend like Senna it is always very humbling and an incredible feeling,” said Hamilton, whose admiration for the triple world champion has been well-documented.

“Ayrton was unique in his own way and on his own level. I don’t compare myself to anybody. I feel like I am in my own lane.

“But as drivers, we strive to be like the greats, and I strive to be great like the other legends that have gone before us.”

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