Edgy Monaco weekend deepens tensions between Hamilton and Rosberg
Mercedes
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  26 May 2014   |  4:53 pm GMT  |  516 comments

If Saturday’s cold body language between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – following the qualifying incident in which Rosberg claimed pole – suggested that the pair’s relationship had reached wintry levels, the icy words that followed Rosberg’s win ahead of Hamilton confirmed that things have now become positively arctic.

Although comparisons with the toxic team-mate relationship between Senna and Prost are premature, the basis of that was a breakdown of trust, which the team could not repair.

There has been a breakdown of trust between Hamilton and Rosberg in the last few races, with illicit use of engine modes and now the qualifying incident in Monaco.

Niki Lauda has pledged to reconcile the pair, but Hamilton looks like he’s gone into siege mentality – is he minded to play his part in a reconciliation?

It will be interesting to see whether Lauda’s efforts put an elastoplast over the situation, or a proper long-term fix.

Hamilton went on the offensive straight away following Rosberg’s win saying during the podium interviews that he felt he [Hamilton] had had great pace in the race and in an apparent reference to the previous day’s qualifying session that “fortunately we didn’t make any mistakes”.

His next broadside came in the FIA press conference where Hamilton again referred to fairness in the battle between the drivers.

“I had very good pace. I drove with all my heart and gave it all I could, fairly, and I feel like I drove fairly all weekend,” he said pointedly. “So I leave today quite happy and I can go into the next race with even more energy and determination.”

The Briton went to cast more of his own suspicions on Rosberg’s actions on Saturday. Asked if he had been in the room while Rosberg’s post-session debrief had taken place Hamilton said: “I was in there. I went to the toilet and Nico did his big debrief before I got there, which is unusual. Usually, we do it when we’re both in the same room but as I came up I did mine and fortunately the engineers had written down what Nico had said so I read it.”

What Hamilton was getting at was unclear, but Rosberg, for his part, toed a careful PR line when questioned about the growing animosity between the two drivers.

Asked if he and his team-mate would “sit down, have pizza and work it out”, the German insisted there was no conflict.

“It’s fine. We’ve had discussions and the benefit we have is that we’ve known each other for so long. We always sit down and discuss it and then move on and that’s what we’re doing this weekend also,” he said.

Rosberg did, however, use the occasion of the press conference to wage a small slice of psychological warfare on his team-mate, saying twice that the Monaco victory had broken Hamilton’s recent momentum.

“It’s a special win, definitely, because Lewis has had the momentum with the results and everything and I really needed to try to break that momentum and I managed to do that this weekend. Of course taking the leading again in the world championship and winning here in Monaco, yeah, all in all really, really cool.”

Rosberg also denied that he had told a German newspaper that Hamilton was prone to cracking under pressure.

“That is definitely very, very far from anything that I’ve ever said and ever would say,” he said. “Definitely not, and I’ve known Lewis for many, many years and he’s always been strong, among other things mentally, so I’m definitely not expecting him to crack any time soon, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a tough battle, which is going to be ongoing, but I would never say something like that.”

Hamilton was clearly frustrated during the race. When brought into the pits in the wake of the Safety Car’s emergence following Adrian Sutil’s crash a third of the way into the race, Hamilton repeatedly questioned the timing of the stop and the strategy behind it.

Later in asking for details of the gaps in the race and being informed of his advantage to Ricciardo, the Briton snapped that he didn’t care about that gap but wanted to know the deficit to Rosberg.

Quizzed about this attitude to the pit stop following the race, Hamilton was evasive.

“I don’t remember to be honest. I don’t,” he said. “I think they saw a crash and normally under the crash we could have come in and I really should have come in but the team didn’t call us in. We really should have pitted that lap.”

He was also evasive when asked about his comment of Saturday when he said he would handle the situation of Rosberg’s pole position “like Senna”. Asked to explain the comment Hamilton said: “I don’t know. I can’t really remember to be honest. I think it was just a joke. Obviously I didn’t.”

Asked if the gloves were now off in his battle with Rosberg, Hamilton said: “There is a fierce battle between me and Nico and it will continue that way to I’m sure quite late in the season. Nico’s not had a single hiccup through the season so far. Obviously I had a car that didn’t finish in Melbourne but otherwise it’s still quite close, so I’m just going to keep my head up, keep pushing.”

The final nail in the coffin of the duo’s friendship, which stretches back to their karting days, came, however, when Hamilton spoke to broadcasters after the press conference. Speaking about the relationship with Rosberg, Hamilton bluntly stated: “We are not friends. We are colleagues.”

Rosberg, too, cooled in the wake of the conference. “I don’t want to comment about Lewis in any way,” he told German television. “‘Friends’ is a big word. We work well together.”

It’s clear the battle lines between the two side of the Mercedes garage are being drawn deeper and deeper and it seems that the feud will only become more bitter as the season progresses.

Hamilton’s good fortune is that he has a chance to bounce back next week on one of his favourite tracks, Montreal, where he has won three times and had three pole positions.

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1

Lewis After Monaco : We are not friends

Nico After Monaco : We are still friends we will talk it out and move on

Later Lewis : I have talked to Nico and we are still friends, we have solved out issues.

So yeah, Nico really knows what he is talking 😛

2

I’m always amazed at how much time Lewis has to “chat” over the radio during the race. James is this just British TV focusing in on Lewis or do all of the drivers talk on the radio this much?? (We know Kimi doesn’t, except when he has some entertaining observation. Bless that little character Kimi!)

Another interesting observation… how can the drivers jump out of their car and look like they have hardly broken a sweat nowadays? Senna always seemed to look completely beaten and sweating profusely. My thinking is, we should bring back the manual transmission to give Lewis and the other drivers something else to do, other than blathering on the radio. (Next up, Lewis asking to talk to Nicole on the radio during the race.)

3
kenneth chapman

@ aveli…if you’re reading this then could i give you a subtle reminder that we are still waiting to see the official timing sheets that are a rebuttal of the times shown on the link that was provided?

4

Oh boy, over 500 posts and people are still debating whether or not Lewis is a childish cry baby? Uh, the answer is apparent in the number of posts. When I read F1 news, it seems all of the threads on Lewis are either about yet another another idiotic comment he has made or his endless melodramatic life with Nicole. Please!!!! Anybody win other than cry baby Lewis!!

5
kenneth chapman

hahaha, yes it is all rather tiresome and i try hard to refrain from the perpetual dissing comments on hamilton.

just because he is a walking, one time dog toting, tatooed, diamond earring wearing blingboard with a sense of entitlement due to his disadvantaged youth in scummy stevenage, shouldn’t influence ones opinions of his talent. also his apparent loss of short term memory regarding what he said 24hrs earlier shouldn’t impinge on his ability to attempt to manipulate the teams response to certain strategies to his own singular advantage.

his comments therefore should always be taken as good intentioned and light hearted banter that is easily misunderstood by the great unwashed “F1 dalits’. his attempts to emulate senna should be seen not as ‘bigging up his image to himself’ rather that a valid attempt to better himself on the race track. meritorious wouldn’t you say?

6
kenneth chapman

i regret to say that i omitted to point out that hamilton’s latest tonsorial attempts to ‘appropriate’ the kim jong il hairstyle seem to be a low key emulation of the cult status enforced by the north korean stylemeister. at least kim doesn’t have a blood red private jet of his own. probably an ilyushin four engined strato monster which is not ‘cool’.

7

Myself, I’d like to see Hamilton and Alonso crash into each other with the hope it will knock off the chips on their shoulders. They both are world champions and should act like one.

8

Some are critical about Lewis behavior. I love Lewis for acting this way. Just read that Charlie wants to change the rules concerning the yellow. If Lewis would have behaved like the nice boy this would not have happend. Charlie wants to allow 1 minute extra after a yellow flag in the last 3 minute of Q3. This does not solve the problem because the tires are wore out. But the FIA is acting. Do not forget that the overtake rules where also changed have Lewis accidents with Massa.

9

As an Englishman I will of course lean towards supporting Lewis. Regardless of that bias when he’s on it he’s a joy to watch. Same as Jenson. When he’s in the zone it’s glorious.

Lewis has been in the zone the last few races but he appears to be playing mind games, that looking through my TV, doesn’t seem to be his strength.

Rosberg is niggling and getting to him. Hamilton’s some what classless comments appear to be feeding Nico. Nico certainly seems better at the mind games or at least rising above it.

I fully expected Lewis to beat Nico in Canada – but if he doesn’t I fear a Lewis meltdown is on the cards.

10
Darrell Steele

Can someone just confirm was it nico who started this thing about turning the engine up??

11

In Bahrain Hamilton drove too agressive and would have been reported to the stewards for crowding but his actions were against his own teammate so Mercedes would hardly get a penalty against one of his own drivers, would they. Rosberg more than once had to take evasive action to avoid a crash. After the first dull races this year everyone was naturally excited by the spectacle so it was sweeped under the carpet in the UK at least because a Brit won. What has come to light now is that Rosberg retaliated by changing his engine mode or better say not turn it down at the end of the race as was agreed before the race. Hamilton did the same the next race when he defended against a late Charge by Rosberg. Team internally both got a good bollocking after Bahrain, again nothing was made of it in the Brit media but now its all in the open for everyone to see and the english media is acting all surprised Rosberg doesnt want to play second fiddle to the Chosen one.

12

am i right to assume that you follow the driver who impresses you the most and write more about that driver than any other on the f1 grid?

13
kenneth chapman

@ don fernando…very interesting. no smoke without some conflagration.

14

I think the real question is, “Is this turning the engine up thing why Nico was testing the megaphone exhaust?” 😉

16

Does anyone take a second to think anymore? That 19.906 is with Hamilton lifting off for the yellows on the run down to Mirabeau. He would’ve seen yellows starting from Casino Square. The Sector 1 timing point is at the end of Mirabeau, just before the turn down to the Loews hairpin.

Even with the 19.906 delayed first sector time, if he does the same times in S2 and S3 as his previous lap then he’s on pole by 8-thousandths. I would bet he would’ve beaten both of his previous sector times, so he would’ve been well clear.

Let’s use the grey stuff people!

17

how about the official fia timing records?

18
kenneth chapman

@ aveli,do the official timing sheets show different figures then? how about posting them and then we can compare?

19
kenneth chapman

@aveli…..that’s not good enough. you indicated that the official FIA records differ from the ones posted by HP yet you can’t provide the evidence to support your post?

so where did you get your data? please post…

20

i know the official timing sheets have no hand written labels.

21

Yeowch! I meant conscience, sorry Nico.

22

No matter whether Rosberg deliberately parked it or not, Hamilton believes he did and reacted badly to it. Bottom line for me is that Rosberg psychologically has the edge at this point, which on the back of four Hamilton victories is impressive. It’s going to take another string of wins to swing the momentum back and with Austria, Germany and Hungry looming, I’m not so sure that’s going to happen.

Either way it’ll still be tight by Abu Dhabi. Any way I look at it, it’s depressingly all coming down to those ridiculous double points. Ugh.

23

you will find out who has the psychological edge after the next 4 races or better still, by the end of the season. rosberg was spooked into employing illegal means.

24

Lewis should not care much about Nico but Nicole this year if he wants to win WDC. Whether she parts him even for a short period of time Lewis may easily crack down under pressure.

25

hamilton never cracks under pressure. that’s your fantasy.

26

Let’s see how the season goes on)) He’s already shown his mental weakness.

27

it’s all in your mind, he has never shown any mental weakness, read what button had to say about his mental strength.

28

I don’t think there are many F1 drivers (pass or present) that never acted like spoiled children at one time or another. I’m not crazy about Hamilton’s behavior, but my guess is most fans are not concerned with “company image”…we like drivers with passion and personality…even if they are annoying from time to time. Senna, while loved and honored among today’s fans, was no Mother Teresa..F1 drivers are very competitive folks…asking them to “smile, be nice, never show anger” is probably unrealistic and would probably make F1 boring…

29

I think it must worry Hamilton a bit as well that Rosberg has been faster than him in the latter stages of quite a few races this year.

Hamilton I think is also running the risk of alienating himself from the team. It should be noted that generally when team wars like this exist they don’t remain team mates for long. Senna and Prost – 2 years, Alonso Hamilton – 1 year. Usually the most disgruntled person leaves. I bet after he made the McLaren strategist comment that he got a “you can come back anytime” text from desperate Ron.

As for the Senna style comment, umm, Lewis, when Schumacher did that to Villeneuve in 97 they took all his points off him for the whole season. Probably not the best tactic, mate.

Canada will be interesting, I expect a very determined Lewis, perhaps a little too determined. Champions Corner is usually interesting at intense times. Rosberg is playing a very intelligent game and is getting better every weekend and Dan is just ready to pounce.

Canada will also be interesting if Lewis has a large posse there to support him. They sometimes are more of a distraction to him than a benefit. Let’s see how mature he is getting by who attends and how he reacts to media scrutiny. Now that theyve seen the cracks they will not let up on him, Rosberg is playing a much more intelligent game I think.

30

because of hamilton’s decisions throughout his life, he’s in contention for the drivers title this year and he can certainly make the right decisions to get further up to where he wants to go. if there is any value in your advice, why did you not use them to become a karting champion at least?

hamilton didn’t mean it was better at mclaren, he simply said the strategists set up at mercedes is different from what he was used to at mclaren. if hamilton had similar mentality as rosberg, he would have just turned up at the pits and wait to be serviced and emerge ahead of rosberg but he didn’t he listened to the sole strategist who told him to pit after rosberg. he didn’t disobey team orders and cheat either. let’s find if those double points will be useful to anyone.

31
Kenneth M'Boy

Ha, I hung my helmet up long ago, mate. Got my fair share of titles and trophies in karts and just enjoy watching the racing these days. So I guess I did take my advice. How’s your racing career going?

I think you better watch his comments again, he clearly suggested that McLaren had a better system of strategy, in particular for the guy coming second. He better watch what he wishes for because in most of the races this year, the guy coming second is Nico. He may have just shot himself in the foot if Mercedes decide to adopt this method and all of a sudden Rosberg is allowed to undercut Hamilton.

32

I agree with you entirely!

33

Hi James

Don’t you think a lot of the pundits/press are being very lenient on Rosberg in the way they are reporting this. This was blatant [mod], there’s no way that this was an innocent mistake. I’ve heard a lot about the paddock and drivers being split down the middle. I mean, come on, surely they can’t genuinely believe this was a mistake. He was over a tenth down, he knew it, he wasn’t getting that time back. It was laughable how late he braked, and the hand movements were amateur. Derrick Warwick telling Brundle on the grid that this was definitely not deliberate, he must have been at the scotch. I just think a lot is being made about the relationship breaking down and not enough scrutiny has been placed on Rosberg, I personally would like to see him pushed harder on this or an article analysing it further. It’s blatant [mod] and so far he seems to have got away with it based on his previous good character, if this had been MSC there would have been more of an inquisition. I also can’t believe F1 hasn’t taken provisions to stop this happening, it was an embarrassing way for a qualifying session to end and could easilly be avoided.

34

You talk as if you were an F1 driver yourself. Your not right? Lol. Get over it… many don’t believe he did it deliberately. If you can’t prove something you have no right to label a man guilty.

35

all the evidence points to the fact that rosberg parked his car with intent and the stewards were instructed by the higher powers to take that decision. all those reporting on f1 understand just how powerful the higher powers are and don’t want to cross paths hence the reporting we have. hamilton’s different and say he wishes the media could see the data. albeit hamilton will never do what rosberg did, if hamilton did it, can you imagine how big a story that would be? don’t forget liar gate.

nature will win through.

36

Does anyone actually believe this fued bullocks,seems like a badly acted wrestling script to me.”illicit engine modes”,so it seems the drivers are not supposed to be in control of the cars.Wasted 20years hoping things would improve, not going watch this crap anymore.

37

well said!

38
Andrew Cumbria

It’s surely time to put the Monaco GP to bed and look at the bigger picture of the season so far and whats still to come…………..

Sorry, but I think Hamilton needs to stop acting like a 3 year old, he can’t overcome a poor car in the way that Alonso does because mentally he’s too fragile and his emotions get the better of him.

This year Mercedes could well win every race, which I don’t think even the dominant McLaren in Senna and Prost’s hands even managed (and with many less races too) they seem to be developing the car as fast as anyone and the gap between them and the field isnt closing……. Lets hope Ferrari can get closer in Canada and onwards, but I don’s see that happening either.

Thats said without a cool and calculating mind this could easily and quickly slip away from Lewis, luckily the races come thick and fast now, imagine how he would have fair if had been before the summer break with nothing else to think about other than his perceived injustices for 3 or 4 weeks.

I fear for Lewis’s mental state should he have another DNF shortly and Nico carries on sweetly he could well end up forcing himself out of the Championship car this year and possibly the next 2 or 3 years as they are some far in front.

Man up Lewis and race, fighting with some honor and integrity, traits which unfortunately you seem to be sadly lacking

39

did you take those pills? how many 3 year olds have you ever seen drive an f1 car? if hamilton enjoys smiling with squinted nostrils, i suggest he does it. only he is in position to decide how he behaves and if you don’t like it then it’s your problem so find the solution yourself and stop expecting him to change I order to solve your problem.

this genetic disorder is now getting out of hand!

40

I haven’t seen any mention of the fact that Nico’s problem containing Lewis remains that same, Lewis is faster. There aren’t many places where Nico can stay ahead by coming off the track like at Monaco.

He will be pleased to have won a race at last when Lewis was still on track, and he managed to optimise his start. It still looks like he needs a lot of things to go his way to stay in contention.

41
simon mawdsley

Worth remembering that this ‘feud’ started because Nico turned up his engine in Bahrain, then Lewis did the same in Spain in response.

42

Whether Rosberg caused the yellow flag on purpose, or not, the fact that he celebrated the pole position in the manner that he did was not very sportsmanlike at all, and it shows all the symptoms of deceit.

In this case, you can understand why Hamilton would be so angry towards Rosberg and Mercedes for letting this happen. Expect fireworks in coming races, and the friendship between him and Rosberg is almost certainly over.

43

Toto has revealed the Bahrain and Spain engine boost debacle which was kept from the public. Nico used the boost for Bahrain, then Lewis used the boost for Spain. But Nico said they do that all the time, so it’s a bit confusing. The rift began already from the boosting issue, then Lewis started the hunger games bout the rich and the not so well to do lifestyle. I’m assuming this must have triggered off Nico.

Now we all know of Nico nice guy persona and some said he cheated, some said he didn’t. This we will never know, only Nico knows from his consciousness. It’s a 50/50 for me, as they are such good drivers and with control we coulda been fooled. It will hang in the air for the 2014 quali session.

Tensions are running very high now and the trust in both drivers has disappeared. Why does Merc have only one strategist, that I find strange obviously. I mean I’d like my own if I’m racing so it’s total commitment, no?

I’ve forgotten the sound, the 5 secs slower cars and am enjoying the mind games going on with both drivers. Nothing beats the human emotions displayed by Lewis and Nico.

Lewis should be cool but not easy for him though and just let the talking be done on the tracks from now. But if Lewis loses to Nico in Canada then Nico has upped his game. We shall see.

44

Being an Aussie, I love a one eyed rave as much as the next person who is unencumbered by the facts.

But really, some of the Brits on this site behave like over protective parents at their 8 year olds soccer game.

He was not fast enough in the first run of Q3. He held off to go last in the 2nd run, to get the track at its most rubbered up, but exposing himself to anyone before him having an off. He bet and lost. Was it a deliberate crash by Nico, seems unlikely. More likely he was pushing hard, knowing he had little to lose so long as he did not total the car. Would Lewis have been faster, not lost it etc, again who knows. Again, he rolled the dice and lost.

As for being faster in the race – who gives a ####, you cant pass in Monaco, so its a silly thing to say.

Really, time for Lewis to stop acting like my 8yo – the “if I cant win, I’ll crash into you” thing was just embarrassing. Then when asked about it – “I cant remember”.

Grow up, no more tanties, and get on with it or go to your room.

Daniel on the other hand, now there’s a real man!

45
kenneth chapman

hahaha well said luke. all true.

46

Well said.

We are talking about hundredths and thousandths of a second. Literally the blink of an eye.

You miss a breaking point by a fraction and it could mean you race (not just your qualifying) is over.

47
Paul Braithwaite

Hi

I think Lewis needs to grow up and stop throwing is toys out when things don’t go his way. Nico is handling the situation in a far more mature way. This may be controversial but if Lewis really did get something in his eye (which I don’t believe) then how come there was absolutely no sign of redness after the race – sounds more like a tantrum to me.

48

and what qualifies you to say he should grow up? what will you grow up into, an f1 driver? he does what he wants. that’s what got him to where he is. i hope he never does any of what you suggest he does, otherwise he will never be an f1 driver, oops, isn’t he one already? the best ever?

49
Paul Braithwaite

I would say being an adult qualifies me. I am not denying his driving skills but his emotional maturity. teenage tantrums are not cool !!!

50

you may be qualified but is he not an adult too by definition? all the genetic instruction which make him who he is, were compiled at conception and his environmental experiences influenced how he presents himself to you now. there is nothing that can be done about it so leave him to be himself and try to find a solution for your problem of not liking him.

51

I might be an odd lemon here,i am a huge f1 fan who was brought up believing this sport is the pinical of motorsport.i have attended every british GP i could and have supported only one team in all my years of following. I applaud great drivers and detest a poor team player but i find myself torn here. Lewis is a fast and capable driver,he has shown us his skill and has entertained us with some very memorable drives BUT he is no senna or prost. His attitude over this weekend has cemented my view of him as a spoil child,look at how i have been treated,look at how i had to struggle to get here. Yes lewis,you have come up from humble beginnings but so have many drivers,most dont get support from a major F1 team from the age of 8, most dont get to drive in a number 1 car from the start of their career,they have to pay their dues in lower teams,Jenson in point, he had years in the wilderness but did you hear him pull down his engineer on the radio or accuse the team of underhand moves with a team mate. What advice is Lewis getting from his management? or has he just got yes men rubbing his ego? He needs to present a more british front..keep your mouth closed when out of the car and do your talking on track,you need to respect your team,they pay your wage and have given you a fantastic car that others can only dream of. I am sorry,if i was in that team and i had comment like this fired at me i would not be giving you my best,i am sure merc wont do this,they are above such things but in their shoes..would you give a team member that is just out for himself every option or upgrade first?…i know i would not,i would give it to the one that is a model employee, the one that is not throwing tantrums and threatening to take out both cars in the first corner. Hamilton could be a great champ,he could be a great ambassador for this country but at the moment he is ticking every box wrong. He is a stereotypestreet punk with a ego and attitude of a spoilt child,Nico on the other hand might not have the edge in driving tallent but he is the posterboy for merc,his face is fitting to their company image and no matter what we say as fans its always down to company image and in this i fear Lewis has shot a home goal.

52
Alexis Vallance

Yes, but the difference is that you probably wouldn’t be sitting in the car in the first place if you were Mr Nice Guy. You’re not juts an employee, you’re a unimaginably driven individual who needs to win at all costs.

The interesting thing is that the current drivers on the grid are revealing their true colours over time. Vettel, multi-21 and his current outbursts. Alonso, spygate and switchgate. And now we have Rosberg’s cheating. Yes – let’s just say it – he cheated.

All your points about Hamilton can be applied to most of the top drivers.

53

I believe what really hurt Lewis was the fact due to nico’s yellow flag and taking pole he stopped him from making it 5 in a row and maybe more with 3 of his best tracks coming up .I can see Lewis becoming even more ruthless now not giving his team mate an inch of track .personaly I believe Nico was under hand in qualifying but as others have said only he knows .

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