Toto Wolff on how to prevent another Hamilton/Rosberg situation

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Toto Wolff says Mercedes will have to “calibrate” George Russell “in the right way” to prevent an intra-team battle like the one they had between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes still hasn’t shaken the bad experience of the intense title-fight between team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from 2014 until 2016, a battle that often turned ugly.

However, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes the situation can be avoided in the future.

“[George Russell has] proven that he deserves to have a seat in a top car and now we need to get him properly adjusted into the Mercedes situation,” the Austrian said.

“There’s a lot more pressure, he’s having an unbelievable team mate with the biggest records and there it’s important that you condition him and you calibrate him in the right way.

“We’ve seen situations in the past where they’ve failed; Lewis was part of one where I think the team didn’t quite understand how it could potentially go.

“And I think we’re maybe a little bit better prepared for that situation, but nevertheless he has all the ambition to be a future world champion and so has Lewis, to add another one, so it’s about calibration.”

Wolff explained they will not do this at the expense of Russell’s “perspective and ambition”.

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“I think you have to respect also the other guy’s perspective, and ambition. We are not going to put a driver in the car who is not going to have the ambition to do as good as possible to kick his team mate as hard as he can, win races and championships early too, and that’s clear.

“So I can put myself into his perspective, so I’m trying to discuss with him what that means for the team dynamic, what it could mean, how we need to keep the momentum in the team. And he’s very intelligent, he gets that.”

The Austrian also talked about Mercedes’ 2022 ambitions.

“I think we would be satisfied if we would be in the top three in terms of the car package competing for victories. That’s always our ambition, that we are right there over the long term.

“This is the winning recipe, and if we have a car that we can develop, if we are able to go for the championship, then absolutely, he has the same car that Lewis has, he has the pace, in qualifying he is very, very fast, and I’m sure it’s going to be fine.

However, Wolff told that it’s not necessary to have a harmonious relationship between team-mates.

“I don’t even know if it’s necessary to have harmony in a team. We have to treat each other with respect within a team to ensure the success of the drivers and of the team.

“The situation between Nico and Lewis had a whole history that we didn’t know about, but you can learn a lot from situations where it didn’t work out, like the one between Alonso and Hamilton,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.

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