Belfast Telegraph

I'm ready for Nico Rosberg to show bite, insists Lewis Hamilton

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton insists he is ready for Nico Rosberg's tactics should his Mercedes team-mate attempt anything underhand in the wake of his latest outburst.

Rosberg's criticism of Hamilton following Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix has reopened old wounds that at times festered between the duo last year.

The 29-year-old German claimed Hamilton selfishly slowed during the middle part of the race, drawing him back into a chasing Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari.

Mercedes top brass Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda insist Hamilton was not at fault, with the eventual one-two the best result for the team.

With Rosberg distinctly second best to Hamilton so far this season - as he has been out-qualified and out-raced by the Briton in all three grands prix - it remains to be seen what tricks he might have up his sleeve to stop the rot and regain the advantage.

In Monaco last year it has been suggested by many that Rosberg deliberately thwarted Hamilton during qualifying, earning pole and following up with the race win.

In Belgium, Rosberg earned a rebuke and had sanctions imposed on him by the team after colliding with Hamilton on the second lap which forced the latter out of the race.

Although aware Rosberg may do all he can to beat him, an unperturbed Hamilton said: "I feel pretty well prepared, having experienced all those kind of things.

"That stuff doesn't cross my mind. I think we're professional. We've been through some ups and downs and now we're in a good place.

"And anyway, I would like to think I am stronger this year and that will be reflected moving forwards."

The bottom line is at present Rosberg does not have an answer for Hamilton's form and pace as the 30-year-old has won eight of the last 10 races.

Niki Lauda is fully expecting Rosberg to turn "nasty" at some stage after accusing the German and team-mate Lewis Hamilton of being "egocentric".

"We were first and second and I don't care if there is a quarrel, as long as Vettel was third," said Lauda.

"One thing is clear from my point of view, Lewis had pole position and controlled the race from the beginning to the end, therefore there is no need for a quarrel."

Asked whether Hamilton had the right to be selfish, Lauda replied: "Sure, he will drive selfish. These guys... I call them egocentric, and this is the only way to win a championship. It's the oldest thing. There is no friendship out there. When you race you have to fight, that's it."

Lauda rightly noted Rosberg opted not to attack Hamilton for the win, instead wanting to preserve his own tyres and hang on to second.

The three-times champion, however, believes Rosberg will hit back at some stage, adding: "Nico will calm himself down.

"For sure, when you are being beaten by your team-mate it hurts. When I was being beaten by (Alain) Prost all the time I was not happy.

"On the other hand Nico is a guy who comes back quickly, so thank God there is only one week to the next race (in Bahrain) so all this talk will stop quickly when they start driving again on Friday.

"Of course, Lewis bites, he has the talent to bite, but Nico is as nasty as he is if he sees the chance. Don't worry."

Belfast Telegraph


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