Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has warned Max Verstappen how far Lewis Hamilton will go to stop him from winning, adding we could even see another clash between the title rivals like at the British and Italian Grand Prix.
The pair first came together during the opening lap of the British Grand Prix in July, with Verstappen on pole position.
Fighting for position at Turn 9, the two touched, with Verstappen spearing off into the tyre wall.
The title protagonists then had a second coming together in Monza as the Briton was exiting the pits on lap 26 of the race, with the 36-year-old taking the inside line into Turn 1 to defend against Verstappen.
But the Dutchman bumped along kerbs and collided with the seven-time world champion, beaching both cars in the gravel with the Red Bull wedged on top of the Mercedes.
Likening the scenario to the great Senna/Prost rivalry, which was its most intense when they were team-mates at McLaren-Honda in the 1988 and the 1989 seasons, Wolff refused to rule out another firey moment between the two.
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“If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi, and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years,” said Wolff speaking to Mail Plus.
“What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out, because he was about to overtake and he was quicker. And that is totally understandable.
“If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what other tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake? We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve, we saw it with Senna and Prost twice.
“I don’t think you can control it, I don’t think you want to control it because they are the gladiators in their machines. You wouldn’t want to have calmed the gladiators in the arena 2,000 years ago. We will not interfere.”
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Nico Rosberg delivers verdict on Hamilton and Verstappen fight
With 133 points still up for grabs and five races remaining, Hamilton’s former team-mate Nico Rosberg believes the seven-time world champion still has the edge.
Rosberg shared his own fierce rivalry with Hamilton during his time at Mercedes before winning the title in 2016 and promptly retiring.
Yet despite Verstappen’s 12 point lead in the standings, Rosberg has still backed the Briton this season.
“Somehow I would still tend to lean towards Lewis,” Rosberg told Sky Germany. “Through experience, and because he normally always wins in the end.
“It’s so difficult to beat him. Somehow I think he is can still do it.
“But,” he added, “Max is a giant right now. It’s crazy. The cars are exactly the same, the drivers are on the same level and are in a league of their own.
“Nobody can keep up with them.”
He added: “It’s going to be so close in the last few races, so much is going to happen. It just can’t be topped. I can’t predict how it’s going to turn out after Austin.
“Of course I can assess from the outside what kind of performance they are doing.
“It’s such a high level between the two drivers – the highest level that Formula One has ever seen. Phenomenal, huge respect.”