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Rosberg reignites feud with teammate Hamilton

NEWS STORY
12/04/2015

Nico Rosberg's obvious frustration with his situation at Mercedes, in relation to his teammate, spilled over once again today, somewhat marring a bravura performance by the German team.

Bouncing back from its shock defeat by Ferrari in Malaysia two weeks ago, the Brackley-based outfit should have been basking in the glory of its success following a weekend which it has totally dominated. Instead it found itself fending off questions from a media eager for a good old-fashioned in-team dog fight.

It is understood that behind the scenes team bosses, in the run up to this weekend, had called on Rosberg to raise his game having failed to take the fight to his teammate in the opening two races. Yesterday, missing out on pole by 0.042s his frustration boiled over. "Oh come on guys," he shouted over the radio, later revealing his anger at having missed out by so slender a margin. "When it's four hundredths, it's very frustrating," he snapped at the post-qualifying press conference. "Of course I wanted to be on pole today."

During today's race, Hamilton having nipped his challenge in the bud, long before the first corner, Rosberg's frustration became apparent yet again. Under threat from Sebastian Vettel, the German called on his team to urge Hamilton to speed up, claiming that the lack of pace from the Briton was pushing him into the clutches of the Ferrari driver. Rosberg claimed that Hamilton's pace was having an adverse affect on his tyres at which point the team gave the world champion a gee-up. It clearly worked, the Briton banging in a string of fast laps.

Speaking in the moments after the race the German was clearly unhappy, but it was at the post-race press conference that his emotions spilled over.

Asked about the gee-up call from the team and Rosberg's claim he was being backed up to Vettel, Hamilton said: "I wasn't controlling his race, I was controlling my own race but, great race, I'm really happy.

"My goal was to look after my car," he continued. "I had no real threat from Nico through the whole race. So, I just managed it and got to really enjoy it, to be honest. A few of the real good fun laps were the laps before the pitstop, which I really enjoyed. Ultimately it was a much smoother weekend than we had in the last race where we got the whole, full practice sessions, on my side of the garage at least. And it made a real big difference to the balance of the car for the race. So really happy, and yeah, kinda excited."

"It's just now interesting to hear from you, Lewis, that you were just thinking about yourself with the pace in front, and necessarily that was compromising my race," said Rosberg. "Driving slower than was maybe necessary at the beginning of stints meant that Sebastian was very close to me and that opened up the opportunity for Sebastian to try that early pitstop to try and jump me. And then I had to cover him. So, first of all it was unnecessarily close with Sebastian as a result, and also it cost me a lot of race time as a result because I had to cover him and then my tyres died at the end of the race because my stint was just so much longer. So I'm unhappy about that, of course, today."

Asked if he wished to respond, Hamilton replied: "Not really!" before adding. "My job is not to... it's not my job to look after Nico's race. My job's to manage the car and bring the car home as healthy and as fast as possible - and that's what I did. I didn't do anything intentionally to slow any of the cars up. I just was focussing on myself. If Nico wanted to get by he could have tried but he didn't."

Speaking in the wake of the row, Mercedes non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, himself a three-time world champion, was under no illusions as to Hamilton's stance.

"Sure, everyone drives selfish," said the Austrian. "What do you think these guys are here to do? I call them egocentric bastards. That is the only way to win and the only way to win the championship.

"Nico will calm himself down," he added. "For sure, when you are being beaten by your team-mate it hurts. When I was being beaten by Prost all the time I was not happy. On the other hand Nico is a guy who comes back quickly, so thank God there is only one week to the next race so all this talk will stop quickly when they start driving again on Friday.

"Of course, Lewis bites, he has the talent to bite, but Nico is as nasty if he sees the chance."

Following a tense debrief, which was no doubt far more exciting than anything witnessed on track today, Toto Wollf did his best to play down talk of "war" between his two drivers.

"It was a good debrief because it was a positive debrief," he said. "There wasn't any animosity.

"There wasn't any intention from Lewis to slow Nico down in order to make him finish third or worse, one-hundred percent," he added. "He didn't know the gaps behind Nico. What he knew was that he had to take that tyre longer than we had ever run it the whole weekend. This is why he decided to slow down in the way he did."

The team then took to Twitter to push home the message that all was well with a series of positive tweets, including: "They've talked through the race in the debrief and after. Both guys are clear what did and didn't happen", "We have two number one drivers - and they're passionate and committed. The rivalry drives us forward, we embrace it!", "They are born competitors - they used to race at eating cornflakes, for goodness sake!", "You give both equal opportunities to succeed and let them race. Which is what we do, within limits.", "We can understand both perspectives, yes. It's good to have emotion and free speaking in sport." and "People watch sport for emotions, authenticity and rivalry. We let our guys speak their minds and think it's right."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hondawho?, 14/04/2015 11:03

"2. Posted by Vee Racer, 13/04/2015 12:16

"Bernie, thanks for the re-run of the Chinese New Year's parade in Shanghai. The most exciting event was the track workers attempting to remove Verstappen's car from the circuit."

Great comment and agree with you. LOL!"

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 13/04/2015 11:57

"Much as I sympathise with all the comments about how "boring" this race was, I think a bit of balance is also called for.

Yes, Mercedes had a MUCH faster car, and were always going to win, short of mechanical failure, but developments elsewhere, and mid-field scrapping were interesting (possibly only to me :-( ).

Until we have a root & branch re-write of the Formula there will be a strong probability that one team or another will dominate for a while. At present it's Mercedes, but Ferrari is looking dangerous, and McLaren Honda might well come good for next season. Will all those decrying the current status quo complain as much when its Seb & Kimi or 'Nando & Jenson coming 1&2 every race, "

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3. Posted by Cobra Driver, 13/04/2015 11:16

"Bernie, thanks for the re-run of the Chinese New Year's parade in Shanghai. The most exciting event was the track workers attempting to remove Verstappen's car from the circuit."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Darvi, 13/04/2015 9:08

"Yes Hondawho, I agree "Go Button"! :-)"

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5. Posted by Hondawho?, 13/04/2015 7:17

"That should have read, "I do not like either of them ". Sorry pushed to go button to quickly!"

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6. Posted by Hondawho?, 13/04/2015 7:15

"This is not a "crack" in their relations, more like a giant crevasse and has been since last year.

The body language says it all. I cannot say I think either of them.

Compare these two against "Rich -e-r-doe" and Button for example, although I admit they are not in the same team.

The attitude is all wrong and above all comes across as totally fake.

The relationship issue is more interesting than the racing to be honest!

On another point; as for the engines they all sound more like bull frogs than last year, the Honda unit in particular! Horrible."

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7. Posted by Will Fly, 13/04/2015 6:43

"Whilst I can understand people being fed up of Nico's whining and telling him to let his driving do the talking, I think there's still a fundamental problem (for some cars) that following in the wake (in Merc's case < 2s) of another car has an adverse effect on tyres such that it is not sustainable, although Maldonado, Button and Alonso and others, seem to be able to manage (very) close racing for lap after lap. Let's hope that Seb can get his car on the front row for a few races and mix it with Lewis into the first corner. Highlight of the (boring) race for me, Kimi's radio calls to get that McLaren out of my way, #priceless"

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8. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/04/2015 22:47

"This is undignified and silly.

"

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9. Posted by Tony B Liar, 12/04/2015 21:16

"Poor old Nico is simply getting his butt kicked by Lewis and doesn't like it. Top tip: drive faster and this won't happen."

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10. Posted by scf1fan, 12/04/2015 19:14

"Whether the "team" thinks it's ok for them to speak their mind really isn't the relevant point, it's that hearing a lot of these comments makes it all seem very childish! I don't know how to prevent it in the "twitter" age, but they could at least minimize the reporting some of the useless chatter during the race.

Although I would consider myself more of a Rosberg fan, he needs to put his head down and race!! If he can only do second best, so be it. (A lot of people are a lot worse off.) And he doesn't help his image by voicing these miniscule complaints. As with Schumacher in the past, I don't think that cutting across the track at the start is a very sportsman like thing to do, but it had little consequence, and other than that, Hamilton ran a clean race. So, up your game Nico, or consider the fact that you are doing better than 18 or so of the other drivers."

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11. Posted by f1fan, 12/04/2015 18:06

"Rosberg should perhaps be a racer worth the millions he is paid for, instead of being a rich whiner."

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12. Posted by kdxrider, 12/04/2015 15:58

"Having just watched the race, I really don't know what Rosberg was complaining about. He wasn't anywhere near Hamilton when he called in to say Hamilton was going too slow. If he could go faster he should have closed in and overtook Hamilton ---- "

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