Christian Horner’s brash words to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff during tense Qatar press conference

Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he has no need to “kiss Toto Wolff’s a**” after being asked twice if there is respect between her and his Mercedes counterpart this season during a press conference for the Qatar Grand Prix. The relationship between the pair turned sour once again after Mercedes lodged a right of review into Max Verstappen’s driving during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The duo, who have had a strained relationship for much of the season, were partnered alongside each other on Friday, between first and second practice in Qatar, with, at the time, the Mercedes right of review still rumbling along with the stewards.

Mercedes lodged a request for a review of Max Verstappen’s driving during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after nearly colliding with Lewis Hamilton, which was eventually rejected by FIA stewards on Friday afternoon. 

A hearing took place on Thursday, as new onboard evidence had emerged from the incident, after Red Bull’s Verstappen was seen pushing Hamilton wide on the exit of Turn 4 in Brazil on Sunday, with the pair battling for the lead of the race on lap 48.

With Hamilton on the outside of the Dutchman, Verstappen defended hard as their pair entered the corner.

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At the time the stewards “noted” the incident, but felt there was no need for further investigation.

However, with a clear cold stance between the pair, both Horner and Wolff were asked if there was still respect between the two teams.

Horner initially skipped around the “respect” part of the questioned and focused instead on the fact he felt there was “no relationship” between the two fierce rivals.

However, when pushed on if there was respect, Horner replied: “Relationship and respect are two different things.

“I think that there’s respect for everything that Mercedes have done everything, that Lewis Hamilton has done, but I don’t need to go to dinner with Toto.

“I don’t need to kiss his a** or anything like that, there are a few other team principals have might.

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“From my perspective this is a competition and I think it’s great that we’re in this position and we’re fighting for the world championship, we are fighting for the Constructors World Championship, and it’s the first time in seven years they’ve been challenged.

“So that intensifies it and I think the sport is a big winner out of this.

“And I just hope that we have a hard and fair fight between now and the end of the season.”

Wolff meanwhile said: “As for the punches between the teams, there is many great people working in Red Bull, and obviously many great people working in Mercedes, and it’s a hell of a fight.

“There is a respect for the capability that Red Bull has, definitely.

“And it’s clear that this is tough. It’s the World Championship of the highest category in motor racing.

“And what started as Olympic boxing went to pro-boxing and is now MMA, but that’s okay.

“We are in the ring, trying to do the best job possible. Elbows are out now because the rules say so.

“And the gloves are off. And nothing else to be is to be expected.”

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