It’s been a funny few days in Formula 1. On the grandest of stages – the Monaco Grand Prix – Mercedes appeared to be on the brink of civil war as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg locked horns around the streets of the principality.
After spending much of the weekend sending warning shots to Rosberg in the media, Hamilton came out of the race weekend as the loser. Second place is by no means bad, but the British driver was on the cusp of five straight wins, which – according to history – would have made him a certainty for the title.
Instead, for all of the comments and digs at Rosberg, the German driver had the last laugh on the track on Sunday by winning the Monaco Grand Prix and re-gaining the lead of the drivers’ championship. Frankly, it seemed like Hamilton just had a bee in his bonnet.
Traditionally, Rosberg always plays a bit of soccer before each session; it’s his way to relax. The likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel listen to music. Kimi Raikkonen likes to have a sleep! You can often find Nico doing keepy-uppies with the ball at the back of the garage just minutes before jumping in the car. However, Hamilton complained to the team about this on Saturday before qualifying, claiming that the noise of him kicking the ball against the wall was disturbing him.
They’ve been teammates for 25 races – yet only now is Nico’s pre-race ritual annoying Lewis? Very strange.
After the race, both drivers were asked whether they’re still friends. Speaking to Sky, Rosberg remained cheerful about their partnership at Mercedes.
“We’ve always been friends, we always will be friends,” he said. “But friends is a big word. What exactly is friends? We have a good relationship and work well together.”
However, Lewis made himself very clear: “We are not friends. We are colleagues.”
Just as Fernando Alonso grew restless at McLaren when Hamilton started to challenge him, are the same cracks appearing in Lewis Hamilton?
Across the course of the week, Rosberg has remained a class act, saying the right things and doing his talking on track. Hamilton, on the other hand, has behaved a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. From Thursday to Sunday, there were nothing but digs at Nico. He had a problem with his upbringing, his innocent mistake in qualifying, and the strategic call on Sunday made by the team.
Lewis said earlier this week that his tough upbringing has made him hungrier than Nico. However, he’s now a multi-millionaire global superstar with a private jet, a dream lifestyle and even two dogs he brings to the races. Can we not argue that he is in up in the clouds, believing that everyone is conspiring against him and he can do no wrong?
Final word on this goes to former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley, who worked with Lewis at the team for three years:
“Lewis Hamilton left McLaren without many fans in the garage because of his attitude & arrogance. It won’t take long for the same to happen at Mercedes I’m afraid.”
Let’s see if they can patch things up before we arrive in Canada. Either way, this civil war at Mercedes is only just beginning.