Apr.12 (GMM/Inautonews.com) It was after the chequered flag flew that the real fireworks began in China between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg, beaten in Shanghai, re-fired old tensions with his Mercedes teammate by accusing Briton Hamilton of deliberately spoiling his race.
Rosberg had been heard during the race asking strategists to push Hamilton’s pace, as he fended off the increasing threat posed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Indeed, Hamilton was even told on the radio to speed up.
But Hamilton told reporters afterwards: “I wasn’t controlling his (Rosberg’s) race, I was controlling my own race”.
Rosberg turned to his teammate and responded: “It’s interesting to hear from you, Lewis, that you were just thinking about yourself, and necessarily that was compromising my race.”
The German – notably grumpy all weekend – did not hide his fury, while Hamilton told television reporters afterwards: “I’m not really sure what his problem is.
“I didn’t do anything intentionally to slow any of the cars up. I just focused on myself. If Nico wanted to get by he could try, but he didn’t.”
Predictably, team bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda played down the controversy, but the always-forthright latter Austrian did acknowledge that F1 drivers are “egocentric bastards”.
“There is no friendship out there. When you race you have to fight,” said the F1 legend.
“There is only one week until the next race so the talk and bullshit will stop quickly when they start driving again on Friday in Bahrain,” Lauda added.