Lewis Hamilton tells Nico Rosberg to quit moaning and try harder
Fresh from their latest feud, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg boarded Emirates 303 from Shanghai to Dubai, took their seats in the first-class cabin and barely exchanged a word.
The message Hamilton had delivered through the British press a few hours earlier had been enough.
Hamilton's challenge to Rosberg was simple: this is the pinnacle of racing, this is Formula One, so instead of moaning in defeat, rise to the task. He had heard Rosberg's accusations that he selfishly and deliberately scuppered his team-mate's chances in the Chinese Grand Prix, and was having none of it.
In the past when these two have been at odds, Mercedes have attempted to smooth things over, sitting both of them down for clear-the-air discussions. This time, Hamilton (pictured) sees no reason to do so. In his words: "I don't know what there is to talk about, man."
The reigning champion, a racer at heart, issued a passionate defence of his approach, imploring Rosberg to be true to the spirit of Formula One.
"I grew up watching the sport. You want to see overtaking, you want to see a battle," the 30-year-old said. "And now I'm in the sport, you don't want it to be too controlled. You don't want to back off to save the tyre.
"I want the guy to be up my a*** if he's got the pace to be up my a***, and putting pressure on me. And if you can't defend it, you lose it, like I did in Bahrain last year. I wasn't quick enough and I did everything I could to stay ahead. And that was the greatest race ever. Whether we could have had that here, I don't think so.
"I want to race, man. This is motor racing. Racing. Don't take away the fun of the racing. If I was in second, or third, I would have done everything.
"I wouldn't have sat back two seconds to make it to the end of the stint. If I thought I had more pace I would have tried to have got past, because that's the best part."
Rosberg alleged in a heated press conference that Hamilton, his rival since their days in karting, had intentionally driven slower than was needed, to back him into Sebastian Vettel and jeopardise his chances.
Hamilton's retort - that if Rosberg was sufficiently fast, he could have challenged for the lead - was convincing. Hamilton also strenuously denied that there had been any pre-race agreement which he flouted. The two were seen together in the engineering debrief. They each then had individual sessions, roughly 20 minutes in length, with the team's senior management in Shanghai. Asked if he had any sympathy for Rosberg's position, Hamilton said: "I would be very surprised if any athlete said they had sympathy, but you have to sympathise with people's opinions.
"I always try, in all walks of life, to put myself in that position. But I just said to the guys, if I was in second and I had the pace that I had today, I would have been pushing to be as close as possible and passing.
"That's racing. Nico didn't try. They said maybe he was just comfortable second and I said, well, that's the difference between us.
"Last year, if I had lost to him, and I came second, I come away and start at ground zero and try to be better the next time." (© Daily Telegraph, London)