Nico Rosberg plays down 'cap spat' with Lewis Hamilton at US GP
Crestfallen driver attributes race-losing mistake to "a lack of talent in that moment"; Team boss Paddy Lowe credits Hamilton's double title success to Rosberg rivalry
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 02/11/15 11:17am
Nico Rosberg has played down his 'cap spat' with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton after the United States GP.
Rosberg reacted indignantly in the pre-podium holding room after Hamilton had tossed him his cap by throwing it back at the newly-recrowned world champion.
"It was nothing, just our typical games," Rosberg told Sky Sports News HQ.
It has been suggested that Rosberg's ire was raised by what he perceived to be a deliberate snub from Hamilton as the hat thrown at him was marked 'P2'.
Of greater concern for the Mercedes hierarchy will be Hamilton and Rosberg's collision at the first corner in Austin.
Although the incident - the first time Rosberg and Hamilton had collided with each other on track since last year's Belgian GP - didn't cause any tangible damage to either car, Rosberg described Hamilton's driving as "extremely aggressive" in the post-race press conference while his team-mate sat alongside him.
"It's never easy for things to cool down. It wasn't easy the first time around, but we have some experience. We just need to have a calm approach, a firm approach of how we would like them to compete," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
"I think he [Rosberg] has reason to be upset for that particular incident. It was too hard and we need to pick it up and discuss it."
Joint team boss Paddy Lowe added: "It was certainly a tough manoeuvre to put on a team-mate and even Lewis recognised that during the race."
Rosberg's anger was compounded by his unforced error which handed Hamilton victory in the closing stages. The German had no explanation for the mistake but, in a revealing insight, bristled at the sympathy from one interviewer.
"It's not luck," responded a crestfallen Rosberg. "It's a lack of talent in that moment."
The Mercedes hierarchy may well find lifting the morale of their beaten driver a tougher task than rebuilding bridges between the two sides of their garage.
Asked what he needed to do to beat Hamilton in 2016, Rosberg forlornly replied: "I haven't thought about that yet. I'm still in today and today's a disappointment. I don't know. What am I going to say to that?"
There were, however, consoling remarks for Rosberg from Lowe as the Mercedes technical chief lauded a partnership which, despite the occasional personal acrimony and on-track controversy, has delivered the Silver Arrows two successive titles.
"They are very different characters but equally they get the best out of the car and they push each other," Lowe told Sky Sports F1. "It's often underestimated how important a factor that is for a team, for the two drivers to pull each other because every driver needs a reference point. Lewis couldn't have got where he is today without Nico on the other side of the garage."