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'Respect' intact but Mercedes tension lingers

Formula 1 News - May, 2016

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May 26 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg entered the Monaco paddock on Wednesday with the message that everything is 'ok' with their relationship.

"Do I think everything is ok? No I don't," former double world champion Mika Hakkinen, who lives in Monaco, said on a visit to the paddock on Wednesday.

Mercedes team figures have played down the lasting effects of the silver-clad duo's first-lap collision in Barcelona, with boss Toto Wolff this week declaring that both were to blame.

Even championship leader Rosberg admitted that being in the wrong engine mode was his fault.

"It's my job to put it in the right position and that's it," the German said on Wednesday.

F1 legend and team chairman Niki Lauda, however, said from the beginning that the real culprit was an overly-aggressive Hamilton.

"Lewis apologised generally," he told Osterreich newspaper on Wednesday, "which is important for each mechanic, for Toto, for me and for Rosberg."

But there was some obvious tension on Wednesday, particularly when Rosberg was asked if he had cleared the air with face-to-face talks with Hamilton since Barcelona.

"Some things are just better not to share," he told the media, refusing repeatedly to say if he has spoken to Hamilton.

"I just feel like not discussing that, and that's it. It's pretty simple," Rosberg added.

Hamilton, however, said both he and Rosberg are "cool and chilled".

"And we spoke," the Briton revealed to reporters. "All you need to know is that the respect is still there."

'Cool and chilled' perhaps, but there is still tension in the air.

When asked about that, Lauda answered: "They can deliver their struggle as they want. The only thing they may not do is damage the Mercedes star."

Lauda, though, played down the rumblings about Hamilton's party lifestyle, even though it resulted in wild speculation this week that the triple world champion would miss Monaco.

"I also read the rumours," Manor's Pascal Wehrlein, who stepped in at short notice to test the Mercedes last week in Barcelona, smiled on Wednesday.

"But there was never any discussion about that. Why would they replace a world champion?"

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