Nico Rosberg has kicked off the Abu Dhabi championship showdown by telling teammate Lewis Hamilton to keep their fight clean.
A first or second place will guarantee the the title for Hamilton, so Mercedes teammate Rosberg is hoping trouble strikes or a strong rival from another team is able to split the pair on the podium. “I need to do what I can to try and put the pressure on,” Rosberg said on Thursday. “In Brazil Lewis made a mistake so there is a chance. I need to do what I can to keep going like that.”
Relations between the pair have been frosty in 2014, and a new intensity seemed to have taken hold in Abu Dhabi as they shared a noticeably awkward staged handshake for the world’s media. Their relationship plumbed the depths in Monaco, where Hamilton accused Rosberg of faking a mistake to spoil his qualifying, and then at Spa where they clashed.
Told by one journalist that it hasn’t been a ‘totally clean fight’ in 2014, Hamilton said in Abu Dhabi: “That’s how it’s been.” Asked if there is anything he can do to ensure Sunday’s decisive race is at least clean, he added: “Don’t think so.” When asked for his opinion on the matter, Rosberg hit back: “Lewis can do something to keep it clean which is to drive cleanly himself. So it’s not like he can’t do anything.”