Nov.2 (GMM) Formula 1 could witness a fiery clash in the Prost-Senna mould to conclude the ultra-intense 2021 world championship battle.
That is the warning of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose charge Lewis Hamilton is 12 points behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with five races to go.
“If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years,” he told the Daily Mail.
He is referring to highly controversial title-deciding crashes, the likes of which were then repeated to settle another tense scrap between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.
“We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve, we saw it with Senna and Prost twice,” said Wolff.
“What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out because he was about to overtake and he was quicker. And that is totally understandable.
“If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake?” the Austrian added.
Curiously, Wolff said he will make no efforts to “control” the situation as Hamilton’s boss.
“I don’t think you can control it (and) I don’t think you want to control it because they are the gladiators in their machines,” he said.
“That is what makes this sport so interesting, because it is ingrained in our nature that we don’t like confrontation and then one is intrigued to see how that relationship unfolds.
“If they crash, are they going to confront each other? What are they going to say? Will they look in each others’ eyes? We would not interfere. The relationship is sorted out between the individuals.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton says Dutchman Verstappen, 24, is in a better position to win his first title in December than he had been in 2008.
“He’s what, six years in?” said the seven time world champion. “I was in my second year.”