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Mercedes duo to battle ‘within limits’ on Sunday

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0000000000000Australian+F1+Grand+Prix+Qualifying+6vTYTffnDDkx-BorderMakerWhether Mercedes will or will not impose team orders in Sunday’s Australian grand prix has become a major talking point.

First, it was said that despite the W05’s obvious early-season dominance, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would be free to race to the chequered flag.

But then boss Toto Wolff admitted there had been “conversations” behind closed doors about how the silver-clad pair should handle their battle on Sunday.

Rosberg, who qualified third behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and his pole-sitting teammate Hamilton, said late on Saturday: “I can already tell you now that there will be battles between Lewis and I.

“That is important for the TV and for everybody, and for us as a team.”

However, the German acknowledged that those battles will be fought and won “within certain limits”.

“We need to find the fine line,” said Rosberg. “We have prepared for it and really gone through it in detail so we know what to expect.

“That is the most important thing, once everyone knows what they have to do then it is good to go.”

Wolff insisted that there will be no arrangements a la 1998, when the dominant McLaren drivers agreed that the winner in Melbourne would be he who gets to the first corner first — with highly-controversial results.

“We are not doing this,” he said.

But “We need to make sure that as a team we are running strongly,” Wolff added. “Then it is to be decided on a case-by-case (basis) with what is going on with the cars.

“We have discussed it and found a solution which is acceptable to Nico and Lewis and to the team.” (GMM)

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