Lewis Hamilton joked that Toto Wolff and Christian Horner should settle their differences in the ring after the bosses of Formula 1’s two title-challenging teams traded barbs amid the sport’s flexi-wings row.
With Mercedes and Red Bull engaged in a fierce championship battle on the track, a war of words has ensued between Wolff and Horner on the thorny topic of flexible wings with each making claims about their other’s car.
Both team principals have made pointed remarks in interviews with Sky Sports F1 at the Azerbaijan GP.
With Mercedes having highlighted Red Bull’s rear wing, Horner said: “If you’re picking on one end of the car you have to look at the other. Sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit careful what you wish for.”
He then added: “I think if I was Toto with the front wing he’s got on his car, I’d keep my mouth shut.”
Wolff had his response ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Asked by Sky F1 if he had heard Horner’s comments, Wolff said: “Christian is a bit of a windbag who wants to be on camera.
“It’s about being punchy. It’s easy to be punchy when you are on top of the timesheet, but you should be a little bit more modest I think.”
Mercedes and Red Bull’s star drivers were asked about the spat in the post-qualifying press conference and had an entertaining exchange discussing how the dispute could be settled.
Turning across to Verstappen, a smiling Hamilton said: “We should get them in the ring?”
Verstappen replied: “I mean I’m all for a ring anyway. Even in Formula 1. Instead of penalties. That would be great.”
The title rivals said that the rivalry between the two bosses was natural given the battle between the two teams.
“It’s Formula 1, there are a lot of stakes involved so everyone wants to win, everyone is competitive, so I guess it’s just a natural thing and it’s good for people to read, right?” said Verstappen. “Bit of fire behind it.”
Hamilton added: “Naturally, they’re the two top leaders of the teams and they’ve both contributed hugely to the success of both teams and great leaders and of course they’re head to head because we are head to head in this tight battle.
“We generally just like to do our talking on the track so we’re just keeping our heads down.”
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