The tension between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is continuing to simmer on the back boiler as the Formula 1 circus returns to Austria, with the Briton claiming that the team’s director Niki Lauda does less than people think to keep the peace between the two title rivals.
The proverbial pot boiled over spectacularly in Monaco, where Hamilton’s behaviour was slammed by the media as a ‘tantrum’ in the wake of Rosberg’s controversial Qualifying mistake. It was then widely reported that Team Chairman Lauda, a triple world champion stepped in.
But Hamilton told Bild newspaper in Austria: “Niki does less for our relationship than everyone thinks. I’ve known Nico since I was 13. If there are problems, we’ll talk – the team doesn’t have to tell us.”
Asked, however, if Lauda phoned him after the Monaco saga, Hamilton admitted: “He sent me a text message. Then I called him and told him that I did want to talk to Nico. Nico and I spoke and now everything “smiling is a better tactic” for Hamilton than was his Monaco tantrum, “Lewis has learned that a sad face does nothing for his image.”
Still, the tension continues to simmer. Rosberg said before travelling to Austria that he thinks his last two results have given him the psychological “edge” over Hamilton.
On Thursday, Hamilton hit back: “It’s positive that he feels that way, even for me. If he is feeling that way and I beat him anyway, that’s even better for me.”
He rejected the theory that Rosberg has managed to pull out a 22-point championship lead due to driving “smarter” – for instance by more successfully nursing an ailing Mercedes car two weeks ago in Canada.
“Anyone who says that doesn’t know the facts,” Hamilton hit back. “I had more problems with my car because I had less fresh air (for cooling) – Nico was in more air and so he went to the end.”
Smarter or not, Formula 1 legend Sir Stirling Moss said at a Maserati event in Italy recently that he would put his money on Hamilton, “Without a doubt, Lewis is the fastest in Formula 1.”
“It’s a great battle with Nico, because the German is consistent, makes few mistakes, is good with the mechanics – but Hamilton is undoubtedly faster. I have no doubt about that,” Moss insisted. (GMM)