Bidding for a first World Championship, Nico Rosberg told the Guardian newspaper: “I have huge respect for Lewis Hamilton but we are not best friends”.
The Mercedes drivers have attracted the most attention after some public spats that have caused their friendship to end. Rosberg has said he respects Lewis Hamilton but it is a pure professional relationship.
“I do recognise his achievements. He’s done some great things and he’s been beating me. I have to fight back and that’s the awesome challenge.”
Rosberg and Hamilton are over 60 points clear of their closest rival, Kimi Raikkonen and as a team are 131 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. The bliss of driving such a superior car is plain but so is the pressure bearing down on Rosberg. This could be the best chance he will ever have of winning the title.
“I don’t think of it that way. It’s just a great opportunity. Of course it helps for motivation when you’re fighting for wins. If we were 12th and 13th it’s not the same. Fighting for the title is incredibly intensive. The learning curve is steep initially. I’ve learned a lot and made massive progress. The actual driving doesn’t change much but it’s such a difficult situation because you’re racing together and, at the same time, against each other. That’s a unique challenge”.
With both Mercedes drivers fighting for the title it has been difficult for team boss Toto Wolff to control the two drivers and to prevent accidents and crashes.
“It’s very difficult to find the right line. I have a duty for the team and for them it’s so important to win the constructors’ title but where is the line to my ego and what I want? It’s always difficult. But this is my racing family.”
Team orders have been discussed if the two Mercedes drivers can’t control themselves and respect the team’s wishes. Rosberg describes the team orders, “Team orders is definitely the last thing I want so I hope it stays in this direction.”
After another win for Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, has narrowed the gap to Rosberg at the top of the Championship to just one point. The second half of the season could be a titanic battle between the two Mercedes drivers.