Rival drivers won’t make it easy for Nico and Lewis
Rival drivers say they won't make it easy for title contenders in last two grands prix
Ahead of the opening two practice runs yesterday at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull's Max Verstappen tried to put a price on helping sway the Formula 1 title battle between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but nobody was buying it.
"I'm still negotiating with them, who's going to pay me the most," smiled Verstappen, sitting behind triple world champion Hamilton and championship leader Rosberg at a news conference in Sao Paulo.
"So we'll see, we'll see on Sunday."
In truth, the Dutch teenager - like his Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel - can be counted on to get stuck in as usual and let the championship rivals worry about the consequences.
Rosberg leads Hamilton by 19 points and will take the title with a race to spare if he wins at Interlagos on Monday morning (Singapore time). But, if Hamilton were to win and Rosberg fail to score, then both drivers would head for Abu Dhabi facing a winner-takes-all scenario.
The notoriously fickle weather at Interlagos, the pressure and the role of others determined to stand on top of the podium mean nothing can be taken for granted.
Verstappen, only 19 but already famed for audacious overtaking moves and a hard-headed refusal to give way or be overawed, has been in several scrapes already this season while also winning on his Red Bull debut in Spain.
In Mexico 11 days ago, he and Rosberg banged bodywork on the opening lap as they jostled for position.
"Imagine you tell your team, 'Now I'm going to stay out of the fight, I'm just going to cruise round behind them'. They wouldn't be happy," said the Dutchman, when asked about his approach to the last two races.
Ricciardo said it would be wrong to treat the final rounds any differently from the rest of the year.
"Just because they are fighting doesn't mean we shouldn't still try to overtake if there's a door open.
"I'll always race, I think, with respect but sure I'll race hard... if there's an opportunity to win, for sure I'll go for it."
Meanwhile, Hamilton topped the times in yesterday morning's first practice while Rosberg was third.
The 31-year-old Briton clocked a best time of one minute and 11.895 seconds at Interlagos. Verstappen was second for Red Bull, just 0.096 seconds adrift of Hamilton, with Rosberg third two-tenths of a second down on Hamilton. - Reuters.