As the Formula One bandwagon descends upon Silverstone for the upcoming weekend, one major talking point is dominating the sport. The rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has been well documented over the past few years, ever since Mercedes emergence as the dominant force in the sport. Fighting for world championships has brought the best out in both drivers, with the quality there for all to see. However, this battle has also seen them both go over the edge at times, with crashes and genuine disagreements with who was at fault for a particular incident.

Now, as another crash in the Austrian Grand Prix overshadowed the race, could this be the best thing for the sport in a long time?

Rivalries entertain

For any sport, whether the athletes think of it in the same way or not, it is a form of entertainment for fans across the world. The sport needs to provide the public with excitement to pull in the crowds and get the notice that it wants. Over many decades, a wide range of sports have benefitted from having different characters battling against each other to form historic rivalries. Be it Australia and England in cricket, England and Germany in football or Federer and Nadal in tennis. All these rivalries are talked about among sporting enthusiasts the majority of the time and this rivalry in Formula One could be one of these types of rivalries.

The difference in characteristics between the individuals is there for all to see and the sport will surely thrive on this in the future. The backstory of them racing in go karts just adds to the intriguing nature of their relationship. In some ways, it can be related to the rivalry between the legendary Nikki Lauda and the late great James Hunt.

Sporting fans will hope that Hamilton and Rosberg can maintain their storied rivalry for some while longer.

Opportunity for other drivers

While all the attention may be on the German and the Englishman at the moment, this should be seen as a golden opportunity by the other top drivers on the circuit. Mercedes have a very difficult decision to make on how they will handle their two drivers.

This could be a blessing in disguise for the other teams because Mercedes may have to shift their focus from improving the car to actually improving the relationship between their drivers. Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen should all have increased motivation and drive to win and show the world that they are also great drivers. Obviously, Mercedes still have the best car on the grid and are still the favourites to win both the constructor’s and driver’s titles. But, if Hamilton and Rosberg fail to cooperate for the benefit of the team, other contenders could become winners and that just makes the competition a lot more exciting than it already is.

Earlier this week, Toto Wolff declared that team orders was a possibility as he has become “fed up” with the crashes between his two drivers.

However, the way he has handled the two drivers in the preceding years has been a breath of fresh air for the sport as he has allowed them to race. Of course he would like the best outcome for the team to bring both cars home at the end of the race, so it is understandable that he is frustrated. But, he understands what fans want for the sport, racing to the limit. Hopefully, for fans across the world, Toto will refrain himself from giving out team orders and trust Hamilton and Rosberg to take responsibility for their actions.

Therefore, even if it might be an annoyance for the team at every race, Mercedes should embrace this rivalry for the benefit of the sport.