Nico Rosberg says that the tension with Lewis Hamilton is recent weeks is to be expected given that they are both fighting for the World Championship – and he adds that their relationship has has its ups and downs over the years.
“I didn’t see it as too unusual, we’ve always had periods when it was more difficult,” said Rosberg today. “We have that base respect that goes back 15 years, and that’s the important one, and as a result we always then discuss things and move on. And that’s how it’s been this time.
“It’s not changed in any way, it’s still the same as it used to be, so it’s not different. Of course, it’s more difficult, that’s clear. We’re fighting every single race weekend, it’s me against him, and there’s nobody else. That definitely makes it more difficult. There’s more at stake, there is the opportunity of winning the championship this year, and that’s the ultimate goal in racing. So there’s a lot at stake.”
Asked if he was surprised that there were flashpoints so early in the season, he said: “Am I surprised that we are having certain difficulties early on when we’re fighting for every race win? No. They’ve always been there, even back in go-karting we’ve had difficulties, because even then we were racing every time for the race wins. So I’m not surprised, no.”
He also admitted that the psychological aspect to their battle was important: “In sports the mental [side] is always a part, it’s always like that. It’s always there, and I do think about it. In sports that is a big factor, the mental side to it.”
Meanwhile Nico downplayed any comparisons with the Prost/Senna battle at McLaren.
“I have heard that, and in a way I’m honoured or whatever to hear those comparisons, because that was an extremely high level and big battle, leading the way at the time. But then I leave it at that. I don’t really compare myself at all to that era, I want to do my own thing and go my own way, and that’s it. I don’t read too much into it.”