Horner claims 'it's obvious' Mercedes favour Hamilton, Wolff responds

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Toto Wolff has responded after Christian Horner claimed it's "obvious" that Mercedes favour Lewis Hamilton over Valtteri Bottas.

The Red Bull boss made the comment after the six-time world champion suggested Max Verstappen was fighting the Brackley-based team "on his own" because teammate Alex Albon doesn't back up the Dutchman as Bottas does for him.

But having watched the Finn follow Hamilton for the entire 44 laps at the Belgian Grand Prix, Horner said any thought that Mercedes let their drivers race is a fallacy.

"It's obvious that Mercedes favours Lewis," he told ESPN. "You see it on strategy, the positioning of the cars and so on.

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"Why wouldn't they have put Bottas on a two-stop, for example, in Spa? That would have given him the opportunity to win the race.

"The problem is that everything is geared towards Lewis this year on his record-equaling campaign. The reality for Valtteri is that unless he qualifies ahead, he hasn't got a chance."

Wolff though was quick to counter the Red Bull chief.

"I spoke to him about that," he revealed. "He said ‘Why didn’t you pit Valtteri for the second stop?’ And I said 'If we would’ve known the two-stop was quicker, we would’ve pitted Lewis as well'.

"So in hindsight, the two-stop was the better strategy, but we didn’t want to lose position against Max because it was not clear whether we would beat Max on track.

Horner Wolff

"Then I said to him ‘Why didn’t you pit Max for a second stop? You could’ve beaten us’ and he said ‘We weren’t sure whether we would be able to overtake [Daniel] Ricciardo’.

"Well, hello, here we go! It’s exactly the same situation."

Responding directly to the claim that Mercedes do favour Hamilton though, he added: "There’s no such thing as prioritising one driver versus the other.

"We’ve always played it completely transparent and fair and this is how we’re going to continue."