Lewis Hamilton says he can “understand” why Nico Rosberg hurled a second-placed podium cap at him after the US grand prix.
Furious about their first-corner clash, and having lost the world championship to his Mercedes team mate in Austin due to an uncharacteristic mistake, German Rosberg did not appreciate the ‘2nd place’-branded Pirelli cap landing in his lap in the podium waiting room.
‘Here you go mate’
“I literally said ‘Here you go mate’ and then it came back at me,” Hamilton recalled early this week after celebrating his third drivers’ title – Rosberg’s second consecutive defeat in the Mercedes ‘power unit’ era.
He said: “I was like ‘No problem’. I’m completely oblivious to it. I can understand in many respects how it is. It’s the worst thing to be my team mate.
“I guess when you come in after the race and are disappointed, the emotions are sometimes unbearable. I don’t take anything from it. I’ve seen Nico in lots of different lights over the years.”
Star of the show
But Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, and also boss Toto Wolff have each said they will sit down with Hamilton ahead of this weekend’s round in Mexico, as they agreed the first-corner clash with Rosberg was unacceptable.
Not everyone agrees.
Donald Mackenzie, the F1 chief of the sport’s commercial rights owners CVC, told Globo: “Lewis is the star of our show. And a global star, not just among the British. He was aggressive at Turn 1 but you have to be like that in F1,” he argued.
Hamilton also rejected the need for clear-the-air talks with Rosberg or team management.
Hamilton said: “No need, everyone has a right to his own opinion but it doesn’t matter because I won the race so I feel pretty good about it.”
Rosberg skipped much of the post-race celebrations at the circuit late on Sunday, but later joined in with a bout of rowdy karaoke singing at a team party in the city.
‘It’s a good challenge’
As for Hamilton’s claim that being team mate to the now triple world champion is the “worst thing”, Rosberg told Bild newspaper: “I wouldn’t want another team mate.
“It’s a good challenge to go up against one of the best.”
F1 veteran David Coulthard, however, says that as long-time team mate to double world champion Mika Hakkinen, he knows how Rosberg is feeling at present.
He told the BBC: “You just have to keep working and keep waiting for your moment. It might never come, but Hamilton has learned something and gone faster, so Rosberg now has to do the same.”