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Hamilton/Rosberg not a repeat of Prost/Senna - Wolff

29 May 2014

The intense rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is "very different" to that of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, according to Mercedes-Benz Motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Tensions between Hamilton and Rosberg came to the fore last weekend in Monaco, with the Briton upset to be denied a chance to snatch pole when yellow flags flew after Rosberg out-braked himself at Mirabeau. Rosberg went on to win from Hamilton, retaking the lead of a championship that looks increasingly likely to be decided between the pair.

Neither man communicated in the immediate aftermath of either qualifying or the race, but Wolff insists such tensions are normal when fighting for a world title.

"There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico," Wolff said on the team's official website, "but the situation here is very different.

"The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them.

"Sure, it can be pretty tense when they are racing so hard, but this intensity is normal: they are both competitive guys and they are fighting for a world championship.

"The drivers know we will not tolerate any incident."

Wolff stressed that Rosberg and Hamilton's relationship was a secondary concern behind the collective goals of the team.

"We have seen a lot of talk about their relationship, but that's not the key thing for a successful campaign: the drivers need to work with and for the team first of all," he added.

"They have a competitive car with exactly the same strengths and weaknesses, so they need to fight for every little advantage wherever they can."

Mercedes have dominated the opening six Grands Prix of 2014, with Hamilton and Rosberg accounting for every pole and race victory. The team have also scored five one-two finishes, and currently top the constructors' championship on 240 points - 141 clear of nearest rivals Red Bull.

Rosberg and Hamilton, meanwhile, sit first and second in the drivers' standings, on 122 and 118 points respectively. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is their nearest challenger in third, 57 points behind Hamilton.