Rosberg rivalry not a problem for Mercedes – Hamilton

2015 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has insisted his rivalry with Nico Rosberg is not a problem for Mercedes, despite team principal Toto Wolff’s recent concerns over his two drivers.

Wolff said the acrimony between his drivers “needs to stop” but Hamilton believes the team’s success this year shows no harm has been done.

“It’s always blown so much out of proportion,” Hamilton told the BBC in an interview. “You know, we’ve had 16 one-twos* so our relationship ain’t causing any problems. It’s not like he’s been distracted and not finished high up.”

“Ultimately I think it’s easy for people to take things for granted and I think we’ve both done a great job, we’ve not caused any problems. The energy within the team is as high as it’s ever going to be and that’s because we do what we do how we do it.”

“We’re never going to be best friends but we somehow make it work. There are tension moments but that’s the same in any kind of sport.”

Hamilton added the problem was typical of the dynamic between team mates in Formula One. “They shouldn’t really call us ‘team mates’, as such,” he said.

“The problem is there’s two championships. In football there’s one championship and for us we’ve got the constructors’ championship – that’s what they hire us and pay us to do – but individually we want to win the [drivers’] championship.”

He also said he was confident he will bounce back following Rosberg’s strong end to the season. “I’ve been racing 22 years, whatever I’ve done in the past has worked.”

“The last couple of years I’ve come back pretty strong every season, so that’s the plan for sure. You never know what is going to happen, but I am going to be working hard, working on my fitness, and I have every plan to come back strong.”

*Mercedes had 12 one-twos this year

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Rosberg rivalry not a problem for Mercedes – Hamilton”

  1. Well said. No doubt he will come back strong… And if history shows anything… Stomp on his teammate.

    Nico will try likewise and if he succeeds.. Oh my what a year we will have.

    I would like to see him take on Vettel, currently most acomplished driver in F1. I hope Ferrari “cheated” well enough to make that happen…

    1. Seeing Lewis win puts a smile on my face. But I hope Nico decides to get his act together right from the start of next year instead of leaving it until after the real battle is over. This was a lackluster season made worse by Nico’s failure to place Lewis under any pressure when it actually mattered.

      1. I agree with that @charleski. I want to see Rosberg strong so that we can enjoy to see them both pushing the other to even higher levels and take the fight to the last race.

        As for team tensions, I think that Hamilton says it pretty much as it is, they have shown that they work together as teammates, and they should continue doing so. Its worked in their junior careers, and it has been working pretty soldily for the last few years in F1.

  2. Ops, Lewis got the shaking message from the boss and got a bit scared:) “no, no, there is no problem! everything’s cool” Funny:)

    1. I guess it depends where you’re coming from. I read it as a public rebuke of his boss. Maybe because I’m not sure what Wolff is on about. From the outside, they’re bickering a bit, but that’s really it. If Mercedes have internal disciplinary issues with either or both drivers, then obviously they should be dealing with that internally, not publicly. Wolff’s comments make no sense. I thought Hamilton’s remarks were well to the point. If he was intimidated or worried, he’d have kept quiet.

  3. I am tempted to view this dynamic from a slightly alternative perspective. Nico Rosberg has always been a formidable driver in F1 – you sense he not only relishes the competitive and sporting challenge of being in F1, but the technical challenge. He was competitive against Hamilton in both races and qualifying in 2013, arguably to a greater extent to that he managed when the pair raced together in karts and in F3, and in 2014, it was only really Hamilton’s ability to adapt to an evolving race balance that saw him insurmountable in race trim. On Saturdays, it was Nico with the raw speed in the W05.

    For 2015, Rosberg had to stem the race rout and accordingly gave away some qualifying speed to improve his race pace. Unfortunately, 2015 was a year about track position – on just two occasions, Monaco and Austin, did the leading Mercedes driver at the end of the first lap fail to be the leading Mercedes driver at the flag without unreliability. And since Lewis had worked hard on his qualifying approach, he dully found himself with the crucial track position. Or at least until Rosberg rejuvenated his qualifying pace from Suzuka.

    Rosberg still lost victories in Suzuka and Austin to crucial errors, but you sense Nico has demonstrated that he has had the race pace to have won plenty more races in 2015 if he had the all important track position.

    1. Well summed up.

  4. Comments from Lewis like:

    “You’ve seen he complains about a lot of things. But you kind of let it go over your head because that’s just the way he is.

    “It’s kind of the different background we come from, I guess.”

    Are just stupid. They are not needed. The season is over and really just cause Mercedes more headaches. This was Mercedes most dominating season and all everybody can talk about is the childish way Lewis and Nico handle each other. I can see Mercedes drop one and just get a driver who is good enough for nr 2.

    1. They’re not going to drop a triple champion nor a reliable race winner; they’d be fools to even consider it.

      1. With the car Mercedes has built, they can easily secure 1-2 with number of drivers in F1. Of course new season may change things (or 2017 changes), but for now, the car rules.

        1. the moment they drop Lewis is the moment Ferrari or RedBull suddenly sign him up mercilessly dropping whichever driver they wish. Part of the reason McLaren have 2 world champions is so they don’t come plumb last in the standings. The experience a world champion brings goes part way to make up for the lack of performance in the car. If Mercedes drop Lewis, they are suddenly at risk of not gaining as many points as they currently do, despite the dominant car, especially if Lewis where in a competitors car able to get close to the mercs.

          1. I have no doubt that Lewis would not get a seat in other top teams. The point was not about Lewis.

            Mercedes seat would be very attractive to any other top driver and Mercedes would not have any problems securing another 1-2 if they keep the same advantage next year.

        2. They wouldn’t drop Lewis just for the amount of money they’d have to pay him to part with him and then see him get snapped up by Ferrari. On the other hand, Nico has but a year left and we haven’t had of any contract negotiations going on.

  5. “The problem is there’s two championships. In football there’s one championship and for us we’ve got the constructors’ championship – that’s what they hire us and pay us to do – but individually we want to win the [drivers’] championship.”

    This is, and has always been, an issue with F1. Not that I’m saying it should change, but the fact that there are 2 championships makes a huge difference.

    I remember discussing this back when there was the team orders ban. There will always be team orders while there are multiple drivers per team, and there will always be a lot of rivalry between close-matched (or even not so close) drivers within a team.

  6. Perhaps LH is right that it is ‘not a problem’ for Merc when it all comes out in the wash and they have the WDC and the WCC and 1-2 in the WDC as well.

    But the fact is, it is ‘a problem’ in the sense that when the team decides to honour the viewing audience by first of all having two roosters on the team, and secondly letting them settle it on the track, then that requires management, and is the harder road to take than simply designating a number one ala Ferrari with their one-rooster philosophy and robbing us of racing.

    The rivalry is ‘not a problem’ (actual size of problem only known by the likes of Wolff) because of the hard work done by Wolff and team, and them thankfully taking the harder high road and ensuring they would tackle whatever problems there are or could occur in a split second with an action on the track between the two, for the sake of racing in the pinnacle of racing.

    But I guess when LH decided to turn up his own mode against instructions to the point of being threatened that they will just have Nico do the same, and indeed had to, that is not LH’s problem, so there’s no problem to him.

  7. I like the fact that Rosberg has won these last three races, it shows he is a very good driver in his own right, and that if Hamilton isn’t up to his very best then Rosberg will beat him. This is exactly what Hamilton and Mercedes need, because if Rosberg wasn’t so good then Hamilton would get lazy and start making mistakes.
    In fact, despite Hamilton’s confidence, he shouldn’t have allowed Rosberg to have won at least this last race because it may be Rosberg has finally got the edge over him. If he has, then Hamilton has only himself to blame: when you get to the top, you still need to keep climbing, its just the climbing is more difficult.

  8. Atta boy! Really smart to effectively say your team principle talks nonsense in public: surely that’s gonna help you….

  9. Maybe Honda have sorted their PU and its destined to be great next year so Lewis is talking himself out of a Job so Ron can send Fernando on sabbatical and re hire Lewis?

    glad i got that conspiracy theory out there first.

  10. Some of Wolff’s comments:
    “Going forward, we will consider if it is the best set-up for the team. Personality and character within the team is a crucial ingredient for the team success
    “If we feel that it is not aligned with the general consensus, spirit and philosophy within the team, we might consider that when we take a decision, in terms of the driver line-up going forward.”
    When asked to clarify if that meant a change in team philosophy to have a number one and number two instead, or simply a change of one of the current drivers, Wolff said: “I think it is important to have talented and fast drivers in the car. But we want to work with nice guys.”
    “The biggest weakness is the dynamic of the relationship between the drivers – and sometimes between the drivers and the team.”

    I don’t think I am going out on a limb by claiming Wolff’s remarks are referring more to Hamilton’s verbal abuse at his team including complaining about about poor strategy’s and hinting at favoritism and conspiracy. Not exactly a good example of a team player.

    The animosity between he and Rosberg is not a problem – unless the two take each other out such at Spa last year and cost Merc constructor’s points why should they care? Rosberg got his wings clipped at Spa and there hasn’t been an issue since then. Hamilton’s recent refusal to take place a photo after qualifying and pouting don’t help either.

    If Hamilton thinks the issue is merely between him and Rosberg either he is stupid or in self denial. If I were him I would apologize to his team on up to the execs and promise to change my ways. Merc can win win constructor championships without him and he best realize before it’s too late – it may be too late already.

    1. My thoughts exactly!!

      Interesting thing is that Niki who was the architect of bringing Lewis to Mercedes hasn’t contradicted Toto, which given his frank attitude, can allude he doesn’t disagree.

    2. ‘Verbal abuse’?

      Wow – you really need to get out racing a little more….

    3. Hamilton’s verbal abuse

      TIL “this strategy isn’t working” is verbal abuse.

  11. It’s probably difficult to find a successful business person who’s not a lying hypocrite either from habit or necessity. I’m convinced Toto Wolff is using the perceived ‘war’ between Lewis and Nico to justify whatever actions he may take in the future. Who ever heard of two drivers vying for the championship being best buddies. If Wolff believes that is at all possible then he probably should not be a team boss. Maybe it’s just me but I never take what Wolff says at face value. He’s already demonstrated he’s afraid of competition – and he just might be the type of guy who ruins something good in an attempt to best his ‘enemies’. A word he used in an interview about the upcoming competition from Ferrari and others and quickly tried to sweep away by replacing it with competitors.

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