F1: Nico Rosberg confirms clear-the-air talks with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton after thrilling Bahrain battle
Rosberg claimed on his radio that Hamilton was too aggressive in trying to pass him at one point but has explained talks over where they draw the line are 'completely normal'
Thursday 17 April 2014
Nico Rosberg has confirmed holding clear-the-air talks with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to ensure they know where to draw future battle lines.
The duo emerged unscathed from a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel in Bahrain 11 days ago after Mercedes allowed them to race even though they could have imposed team orders to avoid a potential accident.
Mercedes emerged from the event with considerable credit, whilst Rosberg and Hamilton were applauded for keeping it clean at a time when their on-track feud could easily have spilled over.
There was one incident, however, that caused Rosberg a degree of consternation and forced him to take to the radio to inform the team he felt Hamilton had strayed too far, exclaiming 'That's not on'.
It happened on the first lap, with Hamilton taking an inside line and holding it into turn four where he forced Rosberg beyond the track limits to ensure the German could not pass around the outside.
Discussions were held after the race, with Rosberg admitting the matter is to again be addressed ahead of this weekend's fourth round in China.
"It's completely normal that as a team, when there are situations or races where a lot has happened and which are intense battles, that you are going to sit down and discuss," said Rosberg.
"That's very important to move forward, and we will do that. We're doing that today to make sure everybody knows everybody's opinions.
"We review to be able to completely put it behind us and push on - full attack.
"It's a very normal process which has to happen, and natural because you need to learn from what happened to move forward even stronger.
"That one incident was the only example where I thought it was above the limits. All the other examples were really tough racing, but with the necessary respect."
Given Rosberg and Hamilton have previously been team-mates going back to their karting days, the former knows what happened in Bahrain is unlikely to be the last incident of its kind.
"It's not the first time we've had a battle out on track, and it's not the first time it's been a little bit close," said Rosberg.
"We have had so many of these (battles) going back to when we were 13 or even 12, and even the discussions can be intense afterwards.
"But that is how our relationship has always been, and always, with respect, we move on afterwards. That's how it has always worked and I think how it will work in the future.
"We have discussed (what happened in Bahrain) a little, but tonight we will discuss the whole race and the weekend."
Hamilton produced a brilliant defensive performance over the closing 10 laps to keep Rosberg at bay, even though the 28-year-old had the advantage as he was on quicker tyres.
Rosberg, though, believes he could not have been any more aggressive than he was without going beyond the limits.
"In hindsight I found I attacked quite a lot and went for it, even when I was not even close, I just dived down the inside and gave it a go," assessed Rosberg of his performance.
"I thought my attacking mode was pretty much there, and anything more - on more than one occasion - meant we wouldn't have finished the race.
"So I think I was at a good level, but of course it is something I will keep adapting."
Rosberg would naturally prefer to avoid clashing with Hamilton, but has no doubts it will continue over the course of the season.
"If I had a choice I would prefer to avoid that, I would prefer just going into the distance at the front," said Rosberg.
"But it is more likely it's going to continue to be a close-fought battle, which is also okay.
"It was a big thrill during the race, a really enjoyable fight and that's what racing is about."
Rosberg has no doubts he can turn the tables on Hamilton and emerge victorious in Shanghai.
"I know I can win here, that I have the chance to win here," added Rosberg.
"I know, most likely, it (the battle) is going to be against Lewis, so that's where my mind is at the moment."
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