Lewis Hamilton says he is reluctant to help teammate Nico Rosberg cap off Mercedes' 2015 season with a clean sweep. The German team and the British driver have already wrapped up the constructors' and drivers' world championships, with the only unfinished business now being a one-two in the latter title race.
Currently, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is 4 points ahead of Rosberg, with the red-coloured German enjoying the clear and declared support of his teammate and friend Kimi Raikkonen. The bitter relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg, however, bubbled back to the surface in Austin last week, where the German hauled a cap at the new triple world champion in the wake of their first-corner clash.
And Hamilton stoked the fire even more after the race, when he said he sympathised with Rosberg as being his teammate is the "worst thing". "That comment makes it even better for me," Rosberg said on Thursday, "because I'll get even more pleasure beating him next time." As for their first-corner clash in Austin, "It needs to be discussed," Rosberg declared, but Hamilton does not agree. "We haven't spoken," Hamilton told reporters in Mexico, "and I don't think we really need to."
As for Rosberg's duel with Vettel, he added: "The team has not asked me to support him (Rosberg) as I'm here to win the race. We'll see what Toto (Wolff) wants me to do. In terms of the cap thing, I don't know, it's pretty funny so I don't really have much else to say about it." Rosberg, meanwhile, was not actively pushing for Hamilton to support his bid to beat Vettel in the championship, telling reporters: "No, I don't expect it. He wants to win races as much as I do, as does Sebastian."
For F1, even though the titles are decided, that could mean a spicy three-way battle in the final three races of the season, with Rosberg to throw caution to the wind in any wheel-to-wheel duel with his teammate. Asked if he needs to change his approach after the Austin clash with Hamilton, Rosberg answered: "I do not want to comment on whether or how I will change my approach."
Marc Surer, a Swiss pundit, said that sounds like a good omen for an exciting finish to 2015. "I hope so," he told the German broadcaster Sky. "Until now it has always been Nico giving way to Lewis in those battles, so that could be what changes now." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing