Mercedes ‘tackle’ driver tension

Published: Wednesday 15th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have again been reminded of their responsibilities to Mercedes after the team were forced to tackle head on the tension that rose between them in China on Sunday.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is confident the matter has been laid to rest after Rosberg bemoaned Hamilton’s “selfish” tactics following their one-two finish at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hamilton was absolved of any blame by both Wolff and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, although the problem did at least provide another scenario from which to learn.

With the next race in Bahrain following up swiftly on Sunday, Wolff said: “We saw tensions between Nico and Lewis in the race and we tackled them directly on Sunday night to stop anything carrying over to this weekend.

“When you have intense competition it’s normal it causes emotions to run high – and that’s not something we want to change.

“Both drivers are now very focused on delivering maximum performance in Bahrain and our package should cope well with the demands of the circuit.

“We maintain our philosophy of letting the drivers race, but they both know the number one priority for the team is to win for Mercedes-Benz.”

For Rosberg, in particular, the race offers an opportunity for swift retribution as the 29-year-old has so far been trounced this season by Hamilton, who has finished ahead on the grid after qualifying and in all three races to date.

“China was a frustrating weekend for me and I’m glad we have another race right away to get straight back to work,” said Rosberg.

“The team has made a great start to the season, and with this incredible car they have built I know I just need to find a little bit more in myself to get back to the top step.

“I’ve never won in Bahrain but I’ve taken the last two pole positions here and also set the fastest lap at this circuit on my Formula One debut, so I know I have the pace.”

Last year’s intense battle between Hamilton and Rosberg was one of the highlights of the season, and lit the blue touchpaper to their rivalry as it was later discovered the latter attacked Hamilton by using a different engine setting.

Rosberg is now eager to finally get one over on Hamilton, adding: “Of course, everyone remembers the race last year and it would be great for the fans if we can put on another great show for them this time.

“If we can do that, but with the two top steps in a different order, it would be fantastic.

“It won’t be so easy with the competition (in Ferrari) breathing down our necks.

“But that makes for even more exciting racing, so I’m looking forward to a great battle and I’m determined to come out on top.”

Published: Wednesday 15th April 2015 by The News Editor

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