Mercedes chief Toto Wolff hits back at Red Bulls Christian Horner – I find it worrying’

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Toto Wolff says he finds it a bit concerning that his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner claims to enjoy winding the Mercedes boss in their fierce battle for the World Championship title.

Whilst Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been battling it out on track, the two bosses have been exchanging some heated conversations via the media.

So far already this season we’ve seen Wolff labelled Horner as “a bit of a windbag who wants to be on camera” as the war of words regarding flexi-wings escalated between the pair in Azerbaijan.  

The comments came after Horner warned Wolff to “keep his mouth shut” and “be careful what you wish for” after hinting Red Bull could decide to protest Mercedes’ front wings.

And most recently Horner was left fuming at the British Grand Prix after Hamilton collided with Verstappen on the opening lap of the race, however, reactions were rather muted when the pair tangled again at the Italian Grand Prix. 

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Hamilton currently leads the way in the tense battle, yet speaking of the relationships off track, Horner admits he and Wolff do have respect for one and another, they just approach their roles very differently.

“Of course this is the first time Mercedes, and the first time Toto has been in a situation where he has been challenged,” Horner told Channel 4’s Lee McKenzie over the Russian Grand Prix weekend.

“He’s been in a situation where he came into the team, the drivers were already signed, the engine was already in place.

“He’s done a great job to keep the team winning, but he didn’t really have any competition. This is the first time it’s a true scrap, it’s a true competition.

“There’s a respect between the teams, but we operate in different ways. 

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“I very much want to be on the front line, sitting on the pit wall with the strategists and the engineers, while Toto is in the garage next to the press guy. 

“It’s different functions, different roles, different outlooks, but the competition is fierce. That’s the key thing about this championship. 

“We’re loving the competition and the more Toto gets wound up, the more fun it becomes.”

Yet Wolff believes the comments were quite concerning and didn’t share Horner’s passion, but concluded he doesn’t actually feel that “wound-up” this season.

“No, not at all,” Wolff told Channel 4. “That he thinks about these things is a bit worrying,” he said.

Wolff also addressed Horner’s claims that this was the first time Mercedes had ever been challenged in the hybrid era, with seven World Championship titles to their name.

“No, I think you must not forget that in 2018 and 2019 we had really hard battles against Ferrari at that stage,” Wolff continued.

“I think one of the years we were lying behind before shutdown, only in autumn we managed to turn it around.

“And these battles were really hard and no different to the current one.”

Hamilton takes a two point lead to Istanbul for round 16, the Turkish Grand Prix, with Verstappen hoping to reclaim the lead of the championship.

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