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Mercedes rivals ready for a fresh start at Italian GP

ROSBERG AND HAMILTON MUST BEHAVE BETTER AFTER WARNING

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Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton must behave themselves at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix in order to calm down their angry Mercedes team leaders and keep Daniel Ricciardo at bay.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has made it clear that they will not tolerate another round of egotism from either driver after the rivalry culminated in Rosberg’s failed overtaking move against Hamilton in Belgium, ruining Hamilton’s race and making Rosberg settle for second.

Hamilton was also enraged as the incident dampened his title hopes, and Rosberg eventually apologised at a team meeting on Friday, admitting to “an error of judgement.”

What should have been another Mercedes one- two saw Ricciardo post his second win in a row instead, as he drew within 35 points of Hamilton ( 191) and 64 of the leading Rosberg ( 220) with seven races left.

Wolff has threatened sanctions — after undisclose­d disciplina­ry action taken against Rosberg — in case of a repeat of the Belgian incident, and insisted the driver have an obligation to the whole team.

“We have a quick car butwe have not delivered our full potential in recent races and that must be our target this weekend,” Wolff said.

“It’s no less than the people at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart deserve, with everyone working flat out to ensure we finish the job this season.”

Hamilton recalled that he firstmet Rosberg in Italy during their kart racing days, saying “that’s where our rivalry really began,” and has not given up hope of recovering the deficit on his teammate.

“My aim for the weekend, of course, is to claw back the gap in the drivers’ championsh­ip. It’s as big as it’s been all season so I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me — but anything can happen in this sport,” he said.

“I won’t give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi and there’s still plenty of points to be won before then, so it’s far from over yet.” Hamilton won on the superfast 5.793- kilometres course in 2012 while at Mc Laren-Mercedes. Rosberg has never made the podium there and last year saw him finish sixth and Hamilton ninth.

Mythical course

But Rosberg vowed that “this year things are different. We have a great car and ... I feel confident we can get a really great result.

“It’s still all to play for in the Championsh­ip and with the double points race in Abu Dhabi anything can still happen. I’m focused on taking the maximum points possible in the remaining seven races and I know the teamis too — starting with a top result this weekend.”

Last year’s winner, world champion Sebastian Vettel, may well find himself behind

What should have been another Mercedes one- two saw Ricciardo post his second win in a row instead, as he drew within 35 points of Hamilton ( 191) and 64 of the leading Rosberg ( 220).

his impressive teammate Ricciardo again on the course where he won his first career race back in 2008, then for Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo has been ahead of Vettel almost all season, first won in Canada, and then the last two races in Hungary and Belgium. Now he is hoping to get the better of him, and the Mercedes rivals, again for victory the mythical course in Fer-raril and. “Obviously it’s fullon Ferrari but in the past they [ the fans] have always been very generous to me. I’d love to get the opportunit­y to stand on that brilliant podium and find out!” Ricciardo said.

The passionate tifosi are unlikely to be treatedwit­h the first Ferrari win in Monza since Fernando in 2010, too far behind is the team performanc­e- wise.

“It’s not easy. Something unusual would have to happen, maybe with a bit of help from drivers in the top teams, while we need to concentrat­e on ourselves and give our utmost over the weekend,” Alonso told the Ferrari website.

“We must try and have our best race of the year in front of the home crowd,” he said, adding: “We must be realistic, as this will be another defensive and uphill race for us, but anything can happen.”

 ??  ?? Error of judgement A piece of wing flies over Nico Rosberg’s car after a collision with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Spa- Francorcha­mps circuit in Spa late lastmonth.AFP
Error of judgement A piece of wing flies over Nico Rosberg’s car after a collision with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Spa- Francorcha­mps circuit in Spa late lastmonth.AFP

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