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Wolff: Merc battle just a matter of time

Tuesday 1st April 2014

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Wolff: Merc battle just a matter of time

Wolff: Merc battle just a matter of time

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff believes it is only a matter of time before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are engaged in a tough battle on the track.

The Mercedes pair have won a race each so far this year, but after following up his win in Australia with a second place in Malaysia, Rosberg is currently leading the Drivers' Championship by 18 points from Hamilton.

During an interview with ESPN, Wolff admitted that the team has spent a significant of time in discussing what sort of team orders would be best in such a scenario, before adding that it seems inevitable that the pair will have a fall-out at some point.

"We are spending quite some time discussing those things, discussing scenarios and discussing situations," Wolff told ESPN.

"It's Mercedes and it's the team that comes first, but one day it will be rubbish. It's all academic and we will run into situations where we have to manage - they are still very competitive creatures.

"The intra-team rivalry has been there since the beginning. It's been there since last January. What makes a difference is that these guys have known each other for such a long time and they have a fair relationship with each other, but it doesn't mean that they are not extremely competitive and that they will try to use every advantage they can.

"What is important is that we try to make it very clear from the beginning that the team has come from very far off, we have been fifth [in 2012], and you saw it last year in Malaysia that we ran into a situation that we didn't manage in the way we should have managed because we were surprised how competitive we were, compared to our own feeling."

Even though Mercedes set the pace throughout the most of preseason and the first two races of the year, Wolff remains wary of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who finished third in Malaysia.

"You cannot be complacent because we have seen a Red Bull right up our arse here," Wolff added.

"If you consider they have missed out on two thirds of the testing it was a necessary wake-up call for us.

"In this digital world it is so easy to forget so quickly what happened yesterday. We are still speaking about four-time World Champions and here is us winning two races. We have a package that seems to be very good this season, but it is not consolidated yet and not sustainable yet.

"Nevertheless, I don't want to diminish the work that has been done back in Stuttgart, Brackley, Brixworth and Kuala Lumpur for our fuels. But let's keep quiet because they are bouncing back from what looked to be horrific testing."

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