The Mercedes team battle of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has been compared to the Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost rivalry with McLaren in 1988 and 1989, but according to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, that’s an incorrect comparison.
“There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico,” the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport president said on the team’s official website, “but the situation here is very different.
“The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them.”
Thus far they haven’t – in fact only a mechanical failure for Hamilton at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix has been the only time where a Mercedes hasn’t finished first or second this season. They have amassed 240 of a possible 258 points this season.
In Bahrain, Hamilton and Rosberg engaged in a titanic scrap for the lead, but didn’t overstep the boundaries. The battle reached its zenith at Monaco this past weekend with Rosberg’s qualifying mistake, Hamilton’s less than positive comments about it, and Rosberg controlling the race from start to finish.
Niki Lauda has vowed to get them back on civil terms before the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”