Hamilton and Rosberg now best of enemies
Controversy and Formula 1 seem to go hand in hand. The aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying created fresh foes in the form of Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The former is odds-on at 2/5 to win the Drivers’ Championship, though judging by events in Monte Carlo he will have a fight on his hands. It has emerged that Hamilton was annoyed at Rosberg’s tactics in qualifying, appearing to accuse the German of ruining his last lap of qualifying by parking his car illegally off track, therefore affecting his grid position.
Enraged, the duo weren’t able to restore the peace before the main event. Although Rosberg, who is ahead on points to Hamilton, and is still second favourite to win the Championship at 15/8, he was able to put an end to the Brit’s run of victories.
Non-executive Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda; Hamilton’s closest confidant in F1 has been unable to broker harmony. He isn’t, however, new to this kind of rivalry. His own with Alain Prost in 1984 piqued in dramatic circumstances. In the final race Prost needed to win, and hope Lauda finished down the pack. Lauda, meanwhile, needed just half a point meaning he would take the crown.
Inevitably, although Prost won what was a heated race, his McClaren team mate came in just behind him. Ever the diplomat, and in a great show of sportsmanship, Lauda told him: “forget it, next year it’s yours”.
He wasn’t wrong, and a year later, all claims of a fluke were wiped away as Prost retained the title. This gave birth to a new rivalry, when in 1988, McLaren brought in Ayrton Senna to drive alongside him. With a determination to best the two-time champion, Senna thrived. Subsequently, he went on to win in his first season with his new team. Understandably annoyed, Prost bounced back. In dramatic circumstances he clinched the title the following year, when the two cars collided in the penultimate race of the season, albeit ending the Brazilian’s chances.
Fernando Alonso famously fell out with Hamilton when the two drove for McLaren. Both were somewhat guilty of on-track jostling throughout the 2007 season as a number of races ended in a war of words.
Jenson Button, who himself has been on the end of Hamilton’s wrath, and is 1000/1 to win the Championship, has backed his former teammate to respond with ruthlessness.
Reflecting on their partnership, Button said: “After a bad race where nothing dodgy was goin on and he was just beaten fair and square, Lewis would go out and blitz it at the next race.
“He will probably do the same in Canada – he will probably be untouchable.”