Formula One: Hamilton fans rivalry flames

Daniel Johnson looks at the latest jibes in F1's top-of-the-table clash

Lewis Hamilton's post-match potshots took aim at his race rival and his team's head of motorsport. Pictures / AP
Lewis Hamilton's post-match potshots took aim at his race rival and his team's head of motorsport. Pictures / AP

Lewis Hamilton's mastery on the track in winning the British Grand Prix was matched only by the deftness of the Englishman's comments as he left Silverstone, which suggested that all is not resolved in his rivalry with Nico Rosberg.

In the aftermath of one of the most important victories of his career, which propelled him to within four points of his teammate in the standings, Hamilton made a carefully couched jibe at his Mercedes team, which hinted at a subtle feeling of favouritism towards his German sparring partner.

After Rosberg retired from the race with a gearbox failure, allowing Hamilton to sweep to a comfortable win, Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff revealed that the German driver had entered the garage and offered a small tip for Hamilton in the closing stages.

Hamilton responded: "Toto said that? That's good. Toto likes being on that side of the garage." The 29-year-old offered a laugh and a smile after the comment, but did the jokey remark suggest a feeling of inequity in the team? As his father, Anthony, said on race day, what you see is what you get with Hamilton, and he cannot but help speak his mind.

Hamilton went on: "I don't think I needed it [Rosberg's tip]. There was no tip as I was catching him."

• Read more Hamilton wins British GP
• Read more Lauda slams F1 for being 'over regulated'

While it would only ever be whispered, there is the suggestion from some close to Hamilton's camp that Mercedes would prefer it if Rosberg were to emerge victorious from this titanic championship duel, which is dominating the season. Mercedes strenuously denies this and Hamilton has only ever said he feels he receives equal treatment.

The Briton then could not resist a slight dig at Rosberg when asked if winning at the German's home race, in Hockenheim next weekend, would have any extra significance.

"Well, Nico has never been in Germany so it is not really his home race," he said. "When I was racing with him in karting he didn't stand next to a German flag ever. They would go on the start line and all the drivers would have to stand next to the grid girl --- he always stood by Monaco and never stood by Germany."

The boy from the one-bedroom flat in Stevenage, who has said that his upbringing gives him a "different kind of hunger" to Rosberg, was at pains again to make the Monaco-Rosberg connection.

Nico Rosberg's lead over Hamilton is down to four points, but sources say Mercedes is backing him over the Briton.

"I know he has grown up in Monaco so Monaco is his home town. It will be great to win in Germany. He is German, Finnish, Monegasque or whatever, so he will get that support in Monaco and in Germany he has always had great support there. It is always good to beat others on their home turf."

Hamilton's victory at Silverstone was the second of his career there, and it moved him back into contention.

Another relationship which seemed fractured in the week before the British Grand Prix was the one between Jenson Button and Ron Dennis, after the McLaren executive chairman said that he wanted his driver to "try harder".

Button said after a superb drive to fourth that the situation was resolved and he and Dennis had spoken. "Ron's comment were headlines, understandably, but knowing Ron he would have said it with a smile on his face and a glint in his eyes," he said.

"Ron is definitely onside. We are all working very well together even though it might not have come across that way. We have a good understanding ... I don't see why I wouldn't be here next year."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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