Sports

Lewis is no friend, says Rosberg

Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg hailed Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton as one of the greatest drivers of all time yesterday, but ruled out forging any friendly ties with the Briton as long as they raced each other.

Rosberg (above), who lost out to Hamilton in the previous two years, made it third time lucky when he clinched his maiden title with a second-placed finish behind the triple world champion at the season finale in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.

The pair have been at loggerheads all season and their frosty relationship had been compared by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as a volcano ready to erupt.

Hamilton compounded matters further when he deliberately slowed the pace from the front in Abu Dhabi, hoping to back Rosberg into a position where rival drivers could overtake the German in a last-ditch effort to overhaul his 12-point deficit.

"Lewis is one of the best of all time. He sets a high standard," the 31-year-old Rosberg said, during a visit to his Wiesbaden birthplace in Germany.

The tense atmosphere between the childhood friends as they waited for Sunday's podium ceremony spoke volumes, with Rosberg hoisting the sport's 86-year-old commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone into the air but choosing to ignore Hamilton.

There was minimal eye contact, let alone a handshake.

"It will always be difficult between us. We are in the same team and race against each other for titles," Rosberg said.

"It is virtually impossible to have a good relationship. We used to be best friends when we were young so at least we have this respect for each other. This helps somewhat," he added. -REUTERS

Formula 1