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Hamilton attacks: Nico isn't 'German'

2014-07-09 08:09

‘HE'S NEVER BEEN TO GERMANY’: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) takes a jab at team mate Nico Rosberg (right), saying he isn't from Germany ahead of the 2014 German GP on July 20. Image: AFP/ Christof Stache

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Lewis Hamilton has aimed another dig at Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg by jokingly suggesting ahead of the 2014 German GP (July 20) that it is not his Mercedes team mate's home race.

Hamilton enjoyed huge support on his way to winning his home British GP at Silverstone on Sunday but he questioned how many fans would be cheering for Germany's Rosberg, the championship leader, at Hockenheim.

Hamilton said: "To be honest, Nico has never actually been in Germany, so it's not really his home race. I remember when we used to race in karting - he didn't stand next to a German flag. Ever."

'STOOD BY MONACO'

He added: "We'd have to go on the start line and all the drivers would stand next to the grid girl, in a line. The girls would be holding the flag or a sign saying Hungary, or whatever, and he always stood by Monaco.

"He never stood by Germany."

Rosberg, 29-year-old son of Finland's 1982 F1 champion Keke, was born in the German town of Wiesbaden to a German mother but moved to Monaco in infancy. He still lives in the Mediterranean principality and also calls that GP his "home race".

British-born Hamilton, who is now also a Monaco resident, said: "I've known him growing up in Monaco so I know Monaco's his home."

Rosberg is leading Hamilton by four points after nine races with 10 remaining.

His compatriot Sebastian Vettel has won the past four championships for Red Bull but has not stood on top of the podium since the end of 2013 and 2014's title is a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers.

'GOOD TO BEAT OTHERS ON THEIR TURF'

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, an Austrian, said recently that he felt the German public was warming to Rosberg - a keen soccer fan who has been prominent in supporting the national team's progression at the soccer World Cup.

Wolff told the British newspaper The Guardian: "It changed, I think, a month ago. That was when we noticed the Facebook and Twitter activity with Nico going up a lot. There was less passion in Germany for Nico, for whatever reason, while the emotional momentum behind Lewis is enormous in the UK.

"I haven't seen that with any other driver but now Germans are getting behind Nico much more."

Hamilton recognised Rosberg could expect more support than in the past, however. He said: "He'll have a busier week there than I will, just as I had busier week here than he did, but that'll be good. It's always good to beat others on their own turf."

'WHAT A STUPID ATTACK'

German daily Sport Bild reported: "What a stupid and unnecessary attack by Hamilton."

Also in reaction, Sport Bild published a huge colour photograph of Rosberg's face decorated with painted German flags.

On Facebook,  Rosberg celebrated Germany's 7-1 victory over Brazil in the world cup semi-final by posting a photo of himself in a room littered with Germany-themed flags and memorabilia.

When asked about Hamilton's comments after testing at Silverstone on Tuesday (July 9), Rosberg said: "Anyone can judge however they want. What do you want me to say?"

He admitted he might not be as German as Hamilton is British "because I didn't grow up in Germany, but I consider myself 100% German."

READERS RESPOND

Wheels24 reader Steven Goldswain said: “Lewis' quip is low class and crass. ‎ If it's supposed to be mind games, Lewis is losing the battle.“

Reader George Knight said: "Hamilton has being nothing but a loser. Cheap shot but very stupid tactics. You don’t win friends/fans by trying to make others look out of sorts. His definitely lost support on this.

"Win fair. Lose fair. Nothing wrong with that."

What do you think of Lewis Hamilton's quip? Email usand we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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