Lewis Hamilton says relations with Nico Rosberg remain cordial
"We saw each other this morning and everything’s good," says Hamilton four days after Shanghai spat; World champion now targeting first Sakhir pole 12 months on from the 'Battle of Bahrain'
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 21/04/15 12:00pm
Lewis Hamilton insists there are no problems between himself and Nico Rosberg in the wake of their war of words following the Chinese GP.
The Mercedes team-mates experienced their first flashpoint of 2015 in the aftermath of last Sunday’s grand prix during what turned out to be a heated post-race press conference.
Sitting alongside each other, Rosberg accused Hamilton of driving too slowly while in the lead and backing him up towards the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. A dismissive Hamilton later responded by expressing disappointment that his team-mate hadn’t attempted to try and overtake him.
The pair’s rivalry will resume in Bahrain this weekend – the venue for their most famous on-track duel yet during 2014 – and Hamilton has now echoed Rosberg in drawing a line under the tensions of Shanghai.
“That’s something we spoke about after the race. I don’t see a reason to go back into it. Obviously you know what my comments were after the race and some people have spun those words in whichever way they wanted to spin them,” he said in Thursday’s drivers’ press conference.
“But we’re moving forwards. We will reunite as a team this weekend and try to do a great job.
“There is no issue between me and Nico. We saw each other this morning and everything’s good. There are going to be times when people are unhappy about something but we’re grown-ups, we’ll move past it.”
And while the angry nature of Rosberg’s public comments served to ramp up the spotlight on the intra-team fight for supremacy, Hamilton added: “I just do my talking on track. That’s how it’s always been since I was eight years old. You try to learn from decisions you take and experiences you have and hope you get better.”
Rosberg’s brewing frustration appears to stem from the fact that he has been unable to defeat Hamilton in their recent head-to-head encounters, the Briton finishing ahead in all three qualifying sessions and races so far in 2015.
However, while their duel was more even for much of last season as their title fight went down to the wire, Hamilton says he feels just as in control as he did in 2014.
“There’s never really been a time that I’ve not had that feeling. Nothing’s changed,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I won the World Championship last year, I won a lot of races last year, so nothing’s really changed. Hopefully I’m driving even better than I was last year.”
Despite the improvements made by new chief rivals Ferrari, the sustained nature of Mercedes pre-eminence at the front of the F1 field means that Hamilton and Rosberg are still likely to be the centre protagonists in the fight for victory this weekend.
The duel under the floodlights of the desert last year – since dubbed the ‘Battle of Bahrain’ – was one of the most stirring witnessed in F1 this century and Hamilton is anticipating another exciting race, with the Ferraris also in the mix.
“Last year we had an amazing race here, really fantastic and great fun. It was a huge challenge for both Nico and me,” he recalled. “It was the first night race here and it was the best race I’d seen visibly here in Bahrain.
“With these tyres, and with Ferrari now in the mix, I think we can see a real special race here. On my part, I’m just going to keep doing what I do and try to improve. Last year I didn’t qualify pole here – I’ve never been pole here – so that’s the challenge.”
While pole position in Bahrain may have previously eluded him in seven previous attempts, Hamilton, the 13-point championship leader, has headed qualifying on all three occasions so far in 2015 and is chasing a fourth successive pole for just the second time in his career.