Hamilton: Tension with Rosberg is exaggerated

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Lewis Hamilton has responded to the warning issued by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff regarding his relationship with teammate Nico Rosberg by saying that the tension between them is exaggerated.

Hamilton and Rosberg have been involved in a number of disputes over the past two years when battling for the Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with their most recent clash coming after the United States Grand Prix when Rosberg felt aggrieved with his teammate’s overtaking move on the first lap.

Earlier this week, Wolff issued a public warning to both drivers by saying that if the tension between them spilled over and had a detrimental effect on the team, he would have no choice but to drop one of them and change the line-up.

Hamilton responded to these comments in an interview with BBC Five Live radio by saying that although there will always be some element of competitive tension, the rivalry between him and Rosberg is exaggerated.

“The problem is there are two championships, in football there is one championship. For us there is the constructors’ championship and that is what they hire us and pay us to do, but individually we want to win the championship,” Hamilton said.

“So it is difficult, but this side is always blown out of proportion. We have had 16 one-twos, so our relationship isn’t really causing any problems.

“It is not like he has been distracted and not finished high up or vice versa, so I think ultimately it is easy for people to take things for granted. We have both done a great job.”

However, Hamilton did say that he feels Rosberg complains too often, hinting that the German’s more privileged background may be the reason behind this.

“You’ve seen he complains about a lot of things, but you kind of let it go over your head because that’s just the way he is,” Hamilton said. “It’s kind of the different background we come from, I guess.”

In a separate radio segment with BBC Newsbeat, Hamilton took part in a quickfire ‘either/or’ quiz when he was asked whether he would rather have a pain in the neck or Nico Rosberg.

“Pain in the neck I have right now, it’s actually a lot like Nico!” Hamilton joked, before being asked whether they shook hands after each race.

“When we finish, yeah we shake hands,” he said. “It’s generally the respectful thing to do, otherwise you’re a sore loser.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III