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.”