Lewis Hamilton’s rift with ‘angry’ Nico Rosberg cause for concern for George Russell
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It’s no secret that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg endured a fractious relationship during their four years together at Mercedes, before the latter announced his shock retirement in 2016.
The pair first linked up at the Silver Arrows for the 2013 campaign, after Hamilton was persuaded to leave McLaren for pastures new.
Their first year together was a learning curve, as Mercedes struggled to compete with Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel ultimately romped to his fourth consecutive world drivers’ championship.
But once the turbo-hybrid rules were introduced for the 2014 season, Mercedes suddenly became competitors and no-one could match their pace.
However, problems soon began to come to light between Hamilton and Rosberg, who were both competing to earn the No.1 driver status at the team.
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And, while there was understood to be plenty of disputes behind closed doors, their awkward relationship was shown to the world in 2015.
Rosberg infamously threw a cap at Hamilton after the US Grand Prix, in which the drivers touched while disputing the lead at the start, and the incident was broadcast on live TV.
Moments earlier, Hamilton won the race to seal his third world title and his second with Mercedes.
Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff attempted to play down the incident and claimed that Rosberg’s mood was caused by an error which he gifted the lead of the race to Hamilton.
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Wolff said: “He was angry with everybody, with the world, with Lewis, with himself.
“As a sportsperson you just feel like vomiting and the good or the bad thing about F1 is it happens under the eyes of millions of spectators.
“Every move and every sentence and every emotion is being analysed. But it is completely normal.
“These boys have known each other for 25 years and it was like throwing the cap to your mate and saying, ‘Time to go on the podium.’
“The other guy is upset about the whole race.
“Most upset about having lost the race, about having thrown it away himself, and he just throws the cap back.
“It is emotions and it is good. These boys have emotions and that’s what F1 and racing is all about. Completely normal.”
However, Hamilton’s rift with Rosberg could be a cause for concern for George Russell.
The British youngster has been strongly linked with a move to Mercedes for the 2022 season, with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond this season uncertain.
Should Russell land his dream seat, he will no doubt be keen to avoid upsetting Hamilton and repeat Rosberg’s mistake.
Rosberg retired after winning his one and only world title in 2016 and Bottas has been unable to challenge Hamilton since joining the team.
But with Russell expected to be more competitive than the Finn, there could indeed be fireworks between the British pair.
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