Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton is no longer willing to concede to title rival Max Verstappen “when he thinks the corner is his.”
Hamilton and Verstappen were involved in a number of battles across the opening part of the campaign before ultimately colliding at Silverstone, with Hamilton deemed to blame.
The duo came to blows at the previous round at Monza, with both retiring, and on that occasion stewards assigned the blame on Verstappen.
It came after they raced wheel-to-wheel on the opening lap, where Hamilton went across the run-off at the second chicane.
“These two are racing for a drivers’ championship and you can’t expect them to have velvet gloves on,” said Wolff on Friday.
“That’s why we are going to see harsh moments like this I believe. Obviously I’m biased and am looking at the whole race as it’s panned out and sometimes you just need to bail out. This is what Lewis did on Lap 1. Could Max have done it? Probably he would have lost a position.”
“I think the change of approach is that Lewis pretty much decided not to bail out anymore when he thinks that the corner is his. Now it needs two to tango. It needs two to understand each other on track and when a collision can be avoided.
“But they are in the cars, we have no influence on the driving and they will know much better than us how the other one is racing yourself and it’s interesting to watch.”
Verstappen enters this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix with a three-place grid penalty.