Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix came to an almighty crescendo on the final lap, as Mercedes title-rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided yet again, this time with the Brit prevailing.
Hamilton’s last-gasp victory was just the latest episode between the two drivers, with Rosberg handed a slap on the wrists by the stewards for his actions.
The pair took each other out in Spain earlier this season, and can also call upon an infamous collision in Belgium two seasons ago, among other incidents.
Mercedes bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda were again understandably furious after yesterday’s tangle, which saw Rosberg slip to fourth.
But with the pair well ahead in the title race, though the Mercedes big-wigs may wish to impose team orders, it’s the fans who want to see the best drivers go racing, and a little bit of paint-swapping just adds to the drama.
The Brackley-based team are well aware of the pressures upon them to allow Hamilton and Rosberg to race, and with both men fiercely chasing a world championship, it would be much easier to let them do so.
And though it’s never great to see your own cars colliding, splashed across the back pages of every newspaper and every website, perhaps it’s wise to heed the notion, all publicity is good publicity?
There’s no doubt that every time Hamilton and Rosberg come together, the sport witnesses a spike in interest around the globe.
And with a world championship on the line, Mercedes are unlikely to tame their two warring stars, so expect a lot more wheel-to-wheel action between Hamilton and Rosberg this season.
Team orders will stay well away, as the sheer drive and determination that has got both men to this point in their careers refuses to die down, and their innate will to win takes over.
With nine races gone and 12 to go, Rosberg leads Hamilton by just 11 points ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Despite the 11-point deficit in the standings, Lewis’ victory at the Red Bull Ring has strengthened his title hopes according to the bookies, with his odds shortening from 4/5 to 8/15 and Rosberg’s chances drifting from evens to 13/8.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.