Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have failed to rule out the possibility that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton could crash into each other again this season.
The pair who have had multiple skirmishes this season collided again at the Italian Grand Prix, with Verstappen receiving a three-place grid drop for his part in the Lap 25 incident, that took both drivers out of the race.
Monza may not be the last incident between the pair, with Wolff admitting to F1.com that there could be more incidents between the two great rivals as the season reaches its climax.
“The point is that these two are racing for a drivers' championship, and you can't expect them to have velvet gloves on; that’s why we are going to see harsh moments like this.”
“I think [Verstappen and Hamilton] pretty much know what [they’re doing], in my opinion, if both wanted to avoid collisions, we would have less collisions. If they don't avoid collisions because they feel it's right to not bail out, or not give room, then we will have more.”
Horner agreed with his Mercedes counterpart, adding that he wished to see the 2021 season end with a competitive but clean run-in.
“They're racers and they're going to race, and to sit here and say they're never going to touch each other again in the next eight races – I doubt very much that Toto has that control over Lewis, and we don't over Max. It's down to them in their car, racing for the biggest trophy in motor racing, and there's eight races to go, obviously we want it to be a really competitive, clean run in to the end of the season.”
“But inevitably when the drivers are starting next to each other so often and they're racing at venues that are very, very tight – Max is a no quarter kind of guy, Lewis has demonstrated that he doesn't want to give anything either, and when you get two racers of that mentality, you get incidents.”
Despite only five points separating Verstappen and Hamilton, Horner denied that the Dutchman was feeling the pressure of the title fight.
“I don't see any change in him at all. I think Max is a young guy, he's going for it, he's got nothing to lose. He's not sitting there with a bunch of World Championships defending the title, he’s the challenger, and I think that that's the way he's attacking this championship.”
“When you see the pressure he was under with the home crowd in Zandvoort, you don't get bigger pressure than that, and I think the way he handled that in particular was truly impressive. I think he's just really enjoying and relishing this battle. It's been a long, long time since we've been in a position like this, and of course that's exciting for him, it's exciting and motivating for the whole team.”
Wolff too scoffed at rumours that Hamilton was feeling the pressure, revealing that Hamilton was enjoying the title fight as he chases his eighth World championship.
“Both of them throughout their career have been racing at the very front of every single karting and junior series championship, and as always, there is an angle that people don't get to see, and that's the focus, the concentration, the amount of work that [Lewis] puts into the sport. [Lewis is] actually [in a] very upbeat, positive mood, enjoying the battle.”