There have been several flashpoints and tense moments between Hamilton and Rosberg this year, including an 'unacceptable' collision in Belgium, after which Mercedes stressed to both drivers that team objectives and silverware were the ultimate priority.
Those criteria were largely fulfilled in Russia, as a one-two finish earned Mercedes their first ever constructors’ title and all but guaranteed Hamilton or Rosberg the drivers’ crown. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is the only other driver in contention, but is now 92 points behind Hamilton with 100 still available.
Despite that, Mercedes-Benz’s head of motorsport Toto Wolff says the team’s instructions to Hamilton and Rosberg will not alter for the final three events.
“I don’t think we are going to change something in our approach because we want them to race each other respectfully,” Wolff explained.
“Of course 92 points means [Ricciardo] would need to win all three remaining races and Lewis [Hamilton] not score eight points. Even though I am a pessimist, that would be a ‘black swan, black swan, black swan’ event.
“We saw in Russia [that] Nico missed the braking [point] on the dirty line and Lewis was very cold blooded, and it was good.
“So it will not change the approach. We don’t want it to end in some kind of circumstance with events on the track…”
After winning in Sochi - his fourth consecutive victory and ninth of the season - Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points in the drivers’ championship, the biggest advantage the Briton has enjoyed all season.