Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned of the potential for “dirtier driving” in the final three races of the season after Max Verstappen went unpunished for his aggressive manoeuvre in the São Paulo Grand Prix
Verstappen forced F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton off track at Interlagos and despite Mercedes requesting a right to review, the stewards decided there was no case to answer.
Following Friday's driver briefing to clarify what is and isn't now acceptable Wolff said: “It’s a very surprising outcome.
"Irrelevant of how Brazil has been judged, I think that’s water under the bridge, in my opinion, what it says is you can just launch yourself into a corner and take the other car out of line.
“That obviously can lead to quite some dirtier driving going forward. What I said to some of the stakeholders is we don’t want to have a bad situation tomorrow, or in Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi because that would be really bad.
“All the drivers who spoke up said it was a decision that was also surprising to them and that obviously you needed to adapt your driving style to that new situation. So still surprising for everybody in the car and for us, too.”
Mercedes in good position – Wolff
Mercedes qualified first and third in Qatar, with Hamilton on pole position for the race at the new venue.
Wolff believes the team is in a good position to fight for some points and close the championship gap on Verstappen.
Wolff added: “It’s very good, the car is good and solid. They [Red Bull] had a good straight-line speed, by the way, today, with the big wing, so they must have found some performance.
“So we just need to finish good tomorrow, score some points and get some back and then maybe go to Abu Dhabi and then whoever wins, wins the world championship.
“We are one and three. It’s the version we would have opted for because it's on the cleaner line. There are no support races so we should be okay there but you never know.
“If Max gets a good start and is able to maintain the lead or comes out of the first corner in the lead then it’s much more difficult.”