Wolff reveals when Mercedes will start to enforce team orders against Hamilton or Russell

Mercedes are third in the Constructors' Championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has vehemently denied suggestions that he will ask Sir Lewis Hamilton to move aside for George Russell, or vice versa. 

Russell leads Hamilton 4-3 in the qualifying battle this year, and has scored two podiums to the seven-time champion’s one will out-performing him in all of the last six races.

However, some of those results have been indebted to misfortune for Hamilton, including two ill-timed Safety Car periods in Melbourne and Miami, as well as a collision with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap in Spain, after which he had the best pace of anybody in the field.

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He recovered to end the Spanish Grand Prix P5, put was forced to start eighth in Monaco last weekend after a tremendous display by Russell, coupled with a red flag at the end of qualifying when Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso crashed.

The latter started and ended the grand prix one position ahead of the Briton, and Hamilton was stuck behind Alonso for the majority of the race as the Spaniard ran at a reduced pace to conserve his tyres.

That compounded the fact that it is already extremely difficult to overtake in Monaco, and Hamilton finished the race over half a minute behind Russell as a consequence.

While the 24-year-old has overall performed exquisitely this season, there is not a lot separating the two Mercedes drivers pace-wise, so Wolff sees no reason to deploy team orders at this stage.

“No, 100 per cent no,” he told the Telegraph. 

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“One hundred per cent we will allow them to race until a driver is mathematically out of contention, we’re not making such a call.”

The Austrian added that it would make “no difference” if the roles were reversed and Hamilton was ahead of his team-mate in the championship.

Wolff is certain that Hamilton’s misfortune will soon come to an end after an incident with Esteban Ocon and a large spell stuck behind Alonso prevented him from getting involved with the battle for fifth with Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

“I think when you look at the bad spells that Lewis had – I mean look at the race today, stuck again, contact with Esteban, stuck behind Fernando, the red flag in qualifying and then you know what happened in races before,” he explained.

“I think the pendulum will swing so that these unlucky situations will stop with Lewis.

“He could have been right there and closed on Lando’s pit stop window or even fight with George and Lando in the front because that was his pace.

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“They are very much on the same pace, one practice the one leads, then the other, and that is great how also they work together to get our car straight, because we need to get that car straight.”

The lower ride height of the cars due to the ground effect aerodynamics meant that the bumps in Monaco were more pronounced, and Hamilton said after the race that is “praying” the team in Brackley can find a way to eliminate the bouncing and “porpoising” that has been hampering them all year.