Wolff expects no repeat of “Silverstone incident” as title rivals share front row again

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will respect each other on track and race ‘hard, but fair’ in tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix, Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff predicted.

The two main contenders for this year’s world championship will line up on the front row of the grid for the first time since the British Grand Prix – the scene of their controversial opening-lap clash that caused a heavy crash for Verstappen and Hamilton receive a penalty, yet go on to win.

But Wolff does not expect to see a repeat of the scenes from Silverstone when the pair line up alongside each other on the front row for the Dutch Grand Prix.

“I think the two protagonists will start side-by-side more often this season and I don’t think we can really assume that it will always end up in an incident,” Wolff says.

“They are both amongst the best ones and they know that every win counts – but they will do it fair and square, but hard. And I think, in a way, we need to stop referring to the Silverstone incident because we’re going to do this another five times this year when they’re standing side-by-side.”

Hamilton missed out on pole position by just 0.038 seconds after Verstappen’s DRS failed to fully deploy on his final qualifying lap. Verstappen will have to fend off both Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas throughout tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix as Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 and will start towards the back of the field.

But despite Mercedes’s strength in numbers, Wolff says that Mercedes will not approach either of their drivers about how best to attack the lone Red Bull at the start of the race.

“No, we won’t be discussing the strategy for turn one or two,” Wolff says.

“The drivers are going to discuss with their respective engineers about various possibilities of plays, but we don’t need to refer back to him how to drive or what is at stake, because he knows best. So we are not going to address that.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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16 comments on “Wolff expects no repeat of “Silverstone incident” as title rivals share front row again”

  1. Fingers well crossed that both of them stay level headed today!

    1. No! Fingers crossed that both of them get feisty with reckless abandon! I want AGGRESSION with fire and sparks!

  2. They will collide at the exit of turn 1. Toto is not driving the car so just me speak…

  3. If they come head to head into a tight corner, I don’t see one of them backing off, nor should they. They’re racing drivers, as Hamilton himself said when he an Rosberg colided in ’16. Same mentality here, and we the viewers are better of for it.
    I just hope if there’s a shunt, they both get away with it and are able to continue racing.

  4. No way Hamilton will try the bump-off in front of that crowd. Maybe next time.

  5. If again, then racing incident.

    1. If again, then extremely dirty driving by Schumilton.
      (followed by the worst unsportmanslike behaviour ever in this sport)

      1. If you remember Spain 2016, racing incident 600%.

  6. Fingers and toes crossed for both of them to survive the full race, I don’t want either racing “too hard”. Track is super unforgiving, plus not sticking to track limits here will be detrimental. In a sense I want them both to respect each other’s racecraft and accept in the moment if they have been undone.

  7. I, myself, actually expect exactly the repeat of Silverstone – or something of the kind ;) What I hope for is a chaotic race with an unexpected podium.
    If either of the two makes a poor start and is stuck behind a bunch of slower cars, he will be forced to make a desperate move at some point. So if those two don’t take each other out, they will do it against somebody else. And I’m all for it!

  8. Hamilton would need an escort out of that place if he and Max came together, hopefully they get through 1 and battle all race, after Spa we all deserve that.

  9. If toto stated this we should expect the opposite.
    I noticed his lips moving, so there was at least one lie.

    1. That’s with Horner and Marko

      1. Horner and marko compared to wolff are the most honest people!

  10. Norris and Perez sure had a go at repeating that one.

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