Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg were almost suspended from Mercedes: Toto Wolff

The duo had pushed Mercedes to the top and had the three most statistically dominant seasons from 2014 to 2016.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in a file photo. (Image credit: Twitter)
By Arnab Mukherji | Apr 8, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

It is no secret that Mercedes housed one of the fiercest Formula 1 rivalries in recent history. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg might be teammates, but that did not stop them from attempting to outshine each other every step of the way. The two may have taken Mercedes to the top of the mountain on several occasions, but their rivalry was not always enjoyed by those at the Silver Arrows. Team principal Toto Wolff claimed that the competition sometimes forced Mercedes to take drastic measures to keep the two in check. 

The two have had similar paths to the top. They were karting teammates and good friends until the track made them bitter rivals despite driving for the same team. Their on-track clashes are well documented, including the ones at Spa 2014, Austria 2016, and the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. 

The two collided in the 2016 Spanish Grand  Prix, paving the way for Max Verstappen to records his first F1 win at the time. 


Despite the two’s contributions to Mercedes’ rise and dominance at the top, the rivalry got so fierce that it almost forced the Silver Arrows to impose race suspensions to prevent the team from imploding, Wolff said on The High Performance podcast.  

“It was very difficult because I came into the team as a newcomer in Formula 1, and Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had been in the sport for much longer,” said Wolff, who joined Mercedes in 2013. “But still, I was able to create an environment where they had to respect the team. Sometimes with an iron fist, or iron grip, and they understood that they couldn’t let us down, they couldn’t let Mercedes down.

“The events of 2014, where I felt there was some selfish behaviour, I said that the next time you come close to the other car, your teammate, you think about the Mercedes brand, you think about single individuals in the team, you think about Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes. That’s probably going to change the way you act; you’re not going to put your teammate in the wall.”

Wolff even questioned Merecedes’ decision to pair the two up in the first place back in 2013. He said that the two’s shared history should have been reason enough to not pair them. Mercedes had the three most statistically dominant seasons from 2014 to 2016 but Wolff believes that the competition between the two was a destructive force rather than a positive one. 

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