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Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry was like a 'volcano' - Wolff

Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry was like a 'volcano' - Wolff

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Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry was like a 'volcano' - Wolff

Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry was like a 'volcano' - Wolff

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says lessons learned from Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna's famously furious rivalry at McLaren helped him cope with a partnership between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the Silver Arrows which he likened to a "volcano".

Hamilton joined childhood friend and racing rival Rosberg at Mercedes in 2013, but the team's elevation to Formula 1's serial winners in 2014 saw relations quickly sour.

Hamilton's use of banned engine modes in Bahrain and Spain, Rosberg allegedly parking his car in Monaco qualifying to keep his team-mate off pole and the Brit refusing to heed a team order to let his stable-mate through raised the heat before a collision in Belgium opened up all-out conflict.

Rosberg retired after beating Hamilton to the 2016 title, another season packed with incidents and bickering, giving Wolff more than one headache to deal with.

The Austrian told F1's 'Beyond the Grid' podcast: “You realise that both of them are complete alpha drivers - both of them want to attempt to win the world championship, neither of them are slotted in as a number two.

“It is a little bit like a volcano that has started to shake and then eventually erupts.

“Every single controversy grew into something bigger and that became quite a distraction for the team to manage.

“Because we are humans it always gets complicated emotionally because at times you like one [driver] more than the other - and that is completely normal.

“But I had a conversation with Alain Prost back in 2014 which gave me a good learning.

“I asked him the question about what went wrong between him and Senna. Two great drivers saw their relationship breaking down and ending in collision on track.

“He said the biggest problem for him was the transparency of the management. They never knew what the agenda of the senior management in McLaren was.

“You never knew if you were in or out, whether you were the flavour of the month or not, whether there were politics against you or not.

“What I tried to implement very early in the team was the ultimate transparency - we talk about things. Sometimes it’s the inconvenient truth - things you don’t want to hear.

“But over time, over the years, we got to know each other better, we started to trust each other and the inconvenient truth is something that can be very helpful in helping you to achieve your objectives.

“You just put it all out. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you agree to disagree and then at least understand each other’s standpoint.

“This is very important. This is how we handled the situation with Nico. It wasn’t me alone, in the process there were many others in the team that were really helpful and managed it in the same way I did.”

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