Wolff predicts deliberate title-deciding clash but Hamilton 'would never' do it

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects a deliberate clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in a championship finale in Abu Dhabi.

The two drivers have gone back and forth at the top of the standings all year, with the Red Bull man currently 12 points ahead with 5 races left to go.

But Hamilton and Verstappen have also already collided twice this season, at Silverstone and Monza, and should it come down to a decider on December 12, the Austrian predicts each driver would do whatever was needed to win.

"I’m under no illusion this is very much going to go to the end in the Drivers’ Championship,” he said via the Daily Mail.

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"And 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.

“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 tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake?

“We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve [in 1997], we saw it with Senna and Prost twice [in 1989 and 1990].

“I would never give the instruction to crash into anyone else but if they go to that last race and whoever is in front wins the championship, they will be racing each other, hard," the Austrian insisted.

“And I don’t think you can control it, Hamilton and Verstappen, I don’t think you want to control it because they are the gladiators in their machines.

“That is what makes this sport so interesting because it is ingrained in our nature that we don’t like confrontation and then one is intrigued to see how that relationship unfolds.”

However, asked about that possibility shortly after he and Max crashed out at Monza, Hamilton made it clear.

"I would never want to win in that way," he adamantly told ESPN. “There’s never ever a question about that.


"If that means you don’t win at all, at least you have your dignity. I wouldn’t want to win any other way. You always want to win the right way.

“I love racing, I love fighting for the championship," he continued. "At the end of the year that’s what I’ve been working for.

"You can’t say you wouldn’t be disappointed if you don’t achieve what you are trying to achieve with the group of people you are trying to achieve it with.

"[But] whatever happens, at the end of the year we will shake hands and be back to fight again next year.

"There are a lot of positives to take from this year, and I think hopefully there will be some more moving forward. It’s been a hell of a year!"