Mercedes Formula 1 team is no stranger to having two drivers fighting to be the alpha in the team after managing Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for three seasons between 2014 and 2016. There was a constant battle for supremacy between the two former best friends as they challenged for the Drivers’ championship title.

Hamilton and Rosberg hardly spoke to each other during the 2016 season when the German racer went on to beat the current reigning champion to the title after playing second fiddle to him for two seasons. The team management was under a lot of stress managing egos of two drivers, who were willing to go the distance to get an advantage during the race weekend.

Toto Wolff – the Mercedes team principal – played a major role in ensuring tempers didn’t boil over and cost the team the championship and he has revealed that Ferrari could have a similar problem on their hands with rising star Charles Leclerc slowly fighting four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel to take over as the Italian team’s numero uno.

Vettel has been the team’s No.1 driver since his arrival from Red Bull Racing in 2015 but he is yet to win a title with the sport’s most famous team despite mounting a challenge in 2018. The German started the season as the team leader but up until the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday when he won his first race in over a year, he was having a torrid season.

Leclerc, on the other hand, is the rookie in only his second season in the sport and already being talked about as a future champion. He should have won Ferrari’s first race of the season in Bahrain but a mechanical issue hampered his chances while leading the race.

Nevertheless, the Monegasque did bring the team’s first win at Spa-Francorchamps before following it up with a famous home victory at Monza – the team’s first since Alonso won in 2010. He wrote his name in Ferrari history books with that win and he looked favorite to make it three on the trot when he claimed an unlikely pole position at the Singapore GP.

However, Ferrari chose a strategy to ensure that saw them finish 1-2 but it was a strategy that ultimately helped Vettel pip his teammate during the pitstops and win the race. Leclerc was furious prior to the end of the race but cooled down later and understood the reason for Ferrari stopping Vettel one lap earlier than him.

This has prompted Wolff to suggest that there could be problems in the future when the rivalry escalates – but he is happy as long as the Ferrari drivers take points off each other and help Hamilton, who is clearly the No.1 at Mercedes.

"I think always two alphas competing for position has the potential for a rivalry, and an escalation within the team,” Wolff said, as quoted on Motorsport.com. "We've been there and I think today as a team we're very strong with a clear philosophy.”

"On the positives, they [Leclerc and Vettel] keep taking points away from each other, which is an advantage, but I don't want to look at points at that stage,” he added. "It's about optimizing what we have, winning races and doing the best you can, and we didn't do that [in Singapore]."