Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is wary of the possibility that the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas could sour as the title race heats up.
One point currently separates Bottas and Hamilton at the top of the World Championship standings, with the Mercedes duo winning two races each and the Finn earning an extra point for setting the fastest lap in Australia.
Hamilton v Bottas could be the main storyline of the 2019 campaign if Ferrari continue to stutter, and that prospect is already reminding Wolff of the previous inter-team battle the Silver Arrows had to deal with.
“It reminds me a little bit [of 2014, ’15 and ’16],” Wolff told reporters about Bottas and Hamilton’s start to the 2019 campaign.
“You have two drivers that have the ambition and the ability to win a championship and it’s up to us, together with them, to be very aware of that situation and remember that very quickly [Sebastian] Vettel or [Charles] Leclerc could be back into the game.
“We mustn’t be carried away with the four first results.
“And definitely the relationship matters in order to avoid what we went through between Nico and Lewis.
“We are lucky that they have a very good relationship,” Wolff added.
They get on with each other, there is not a lot of games in the background. And I’m very happy about that.
“But as a matter of fact, we have to be conscious. We have seen relationships deteriorate. Both of the drivers, the respect needs to stay there.
“We’re very strong as a team and we wouldn’t allow the relationship between drivers to deteriorate to a point that it has a negative effect on the team.
“If that would ever be the case, again after Nico and Lewis we would issue yellow and red cards.”