FROSTY TEAM MATES: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are apparently not the best of friends. Image: AFP / Manan Vatsyayana
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Nico Rosberg protested his innocence on Saturday amid suspicions he 'blocked' team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying.
It is a thorny subject in the Mercedes camp after the pair's relationship deteriorated last year amid the tense battle for the 2014 title.
During a wet qualifying session in Malaysia, Hamilton had to pass a cruising Rosberg on the inside of a corner, in a move described "naughty" by former F1 driver David Coulthard.
Mercedes team bosses played down the incident while Briton Hamilton claimed he didn't remember it.
Later, however,, Hamilton did refer to the incident when he said he ran into "traffic". Earlier, over the radio, Rosberg had referred to Hamilton as "the guy who is first".
The German then tried to make light of the supposed 'blocking', jokingly posing as a journalist during a media round with the printed press. "Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG Petronas," he called out to Hamilton. "There are a lot of comments on Twitter saying Nico blocked you. Is that true?"
Hamilton smiled: "I think you should probably ask him. I think he'll have a good opinion on that."
The media corps burst into laughter but Rosberg furrowed his brow and appeared offended. "That's not funny, that's not funny!" he insisted.
'DID HE BALE OUT?'
Soon afterward Rosberg was indeed asked his opinion on the incident and he claimed Hamilton was not even on a hot lap at the time.
"How do we make that a fact? That he baled out before he came across me?" he quizzed.
"Me just saying it isn't going to bear much weight. You can ask Toto (Wolff). That will give some more weight to it," Rosberg said.
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