Hamilton and Rosberg told to 'grow up' - but feud is 'brilliant'
Mercedes drivers no longer friends after a weekend of controversy at Monte Carlo ends with Rosberg victory
Nico Rosberg won the Monaco Grand Prix to reclaim the lead in the drivers' championship from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, but the main headlines of the weekend concerned the fued between the two Mercedes drivers, which has come close to boiling over after a series of incidents culminated with Hamilton calling time on the pair's friendship.
There were rumours of friction between the two drivers before the weekend, but when Rosberg secured the fastest time in qualifying and then crashed out in his final lap, bringing the session to a premature end and scuppering Hamilton's attempts to outdo him, it became clear that the gloves were off amid suspicions he did it on purpose.
Hamilton was furious and his mood was not improved when the team did not bring him in for an "opportunistic" pit stop during the race, when a crash meant that the safety car had to be deployed. Afterwards Hamilton said: "We really should have pitted that lap."
Hamilton and Rosberg did not even acknowledge each other after the race, despite coming first and second, and Hamilton later announced that he was "not friends" with his team-mate.
"The simmering antagonism between the two Mercedes drivers... is threatening to overtake all the other talking points in the sport," says Sky Sports, which notes that Hamilton changed his engine settings during the Spanish Grand Prix in order to keep Rosberg at bay. He later apologised to his team mate.
"The strained relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg is fast becoming as bitter as those between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost or Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet," says The Times, which adds that the pair have been told to "grow up" by Mercedes figurehead Niki Lauda, no stranger to driver feuds.
"After this, Formula 1 is only an unwanted pregnancy and a murder away from becoming the best soap opera on telly," adds the paper.
But the state of affairs between the two drivers should not come as a surprise, says David Coulthard in the Daily Telegraph. "Your team-mate is not your buddy," he writes. And, anyway, the bitterness is "brilliant" for F1. "It excites both the public and the media. It is not a good story that they hang out together... It's a much better story that two team-mates, fighting tooth and nail for the world championship, are not getting on and that the tension is building."
And Coulthard, this time writing for the BBC, suggests that Mercedes could be milking the rivalry. "The team are saying that they do what they can, which is ask them not to crash into each other, but for the rest the drivers are racers, and so are the team, and they are going to let them go racing."
Meanwhile The Guardian notes that Hamilton has something of a track record in the feud department, after falling out with team-mate Fernando Alonso in his first season in F1, colliding with Felipe Massa half a dozen times in 2011 and being forced to apologise to Jenson Button in 2012 after a row over Twitter.