Hamil­ton one of the best, but no friend: Ros­berg

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WIESBADEN:

For­mula One world cham­pion Nico Ros­berg hailed Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamil­ton as one of the great­est driv­ers of all time yes­ter­day but ruled out forg­ing any friendly ties with the Bri­ton as long as they raced each other.

Ros­berg, who lost out to Hamil­ton in the pre­vi­ous two years, made it third time lucky when he clinched his maiden ti­tle with a se­cond-place fin­ish be­hind the triple world cham­pion at the sea­son fi­nale in Abu Dhabi on Sun­day.

The pair have been at log­ger­heads all sea­son and their frosty re­la­tion­ship had been com­pared by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as a vol­cano ready to erupt.

Hamil­ton com­pounded mat­ters fur­ther when he de­lib­er­ately slowed the pace from the front in Abu Dhabi, hop­ing to back Ros­berg into a po­si­tion where ri­val driv­ers could over­take the Ger­man in a last-ditch ef­fort to over­haul his 12-point deficit.

“Lewis is one of the best of all time. He sets a high stan­dard,” the 31-year-old Ros­berg told re­porters dur­ing a visit to his Wiesbaden birth­place in Ger­many.

The tense at­mos­phere be­tween the child­hood friends as they waited for Sun­day’s podium cer­e­mony spoke vol­umes, with Ros­berg hoist­ing the sport’s 86-yearold com­mer­cial supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone into the air but choos­ing to ig­nore Hamil­ton. There was min­i­mal eye con­tact, let alone a hand­shake.

“It will al­ways be dif­fi­cult be­tween us. We are in the same team and race against each other for ti­tles,” Ros­berg said. “It is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to have a good re­la­tion­ship. We used to be best friends when we were young so at least we have this re­spect for each other. This helps some­what,” he added.

“I do not know how he feels at the mo­ment but I know how I felt in 2014 and 2015.” Ros­berg lost any hope of claim­ing the 2014 ti­tle with an engine prob­lem at the fi­nal race of the sea­son but he has be free of such re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues this year. “For me it was dif­fi­cult to stom­ach. In 2015 I lost to him again. It will now take some time for him to process this,” Ros­berg said. — Reuters

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