Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the Silver Arrows will have to “intervene from now on” to keep Lewis Hamilton and George Russell from colliding, something which has happened in the last two races.
At the Japanese Grand Prix, the Mercedes duo spent more time battling each other than their competition, with both Hamilton and Russell having gone off the circuit together in the opening stages of the race at Spoon.
Both drivers escaped unscathed and, most importantly, without damage at Suzuka, with the same having not been said last weekend at the Qatar Grand Prix.
Starting on the Soft compound in P3, Hamilton made a much better start than Russell, who was on the Medium compound in P2.
Having made a better launch off the line, Hamilton attempted to sweep around the outside of Russell and pole sitter Max Verstappen at the opening corner, something which went horribly wrong.
The seven-time World Champion judged the move completely wrong and cut across the front of Russel, who had nowhere to go.
The two Mercedes drivers made contact as a result, with Hamilton losing a tyre and spinning into the gravel, where he retired from the race.
Russell also span but was able to continue; albeit, at the back of the field.
The ex-Williams driver did superbly to recover to P4, to score some solid points for Mercedes.
Whilst the accident was deemed a racing incident by the stewards, Hamilton did accept “full responsibility” and apologised to Russell, with ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher also insisting that it was the veteran’s fault.
“Lewis [Hamilton] sent in too early and simply did not give George enough space. Mercedes looked strong and threw away a lot of points,” Schumacher told Sky Sports.
Colliding with each other is the last thing the Mercedes drivers need currently, especially as they’re fighting Ferrari for second in the Constructors’ Championship.
To avoid a similar incident in the future, Wolff will “intervene” going forwards, to protect the drivers and the Silver Arrows.
“Now, there is some work to do between the two. You can deal with each other however you want, but the team will have to intervene from now on, and it will,” Wolff revealed.