Tensions have been rising in the Mercedes camp from the moment it became evident, early in the season, that Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton would be the only contenders for the 2014 Formula 1 world title, and what was once a close friendship between the two – racing rivals and erstwhile team mates since their early teens – is now disintegrating rapidly.
Immediately after a drama packed Monaco Grand Prix and in the wake of a controversial Qualifying session at the principality, Hamilton declared: “We are not friends. We are colleagues.”
However race winner Rosberg remained adamant and told Sky, “We’ve always been friends, we always will be friends. But friends is a big word. What exactly is friends? We have a good relationship and work well together.”
The animosity was palpable on the Monaco podium where neither driver made eye contact, after the two dueled all afternoon through the treacherous streets of Monte Carlo. In the end Rosberg managed to break away as Hamilton faltered with a vision problem caused by an irritation in his eye.
“I had great pace and felt very strong but [Monaco] is a very difficult place to overtake,” said Hamilton.
Asked if it was time to sit down with his teammate and clear the air before the next race in Canada, Hamilton responded, “I don’t really have an answer for that. He said his thing in a meeting with Toto [Wolff] and Niki [Lauda], and I said what I needed to say and that’s as far as we need to go really.”
Rosberg apologised to Hamilton on Sunday morning for the incident which ruined his final lap in Qualifying, while it emerged that Hamilton himself apologised to Rosberg in Barcelona after running with a higher engine setting than had been pre-agreed, prior to the Spanish Grand Prix which Hamilton won. (GP247)