Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jenson: Mercedes Duo Rivalry Only Just Begun

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jenson: Mercedes Duo Rivalry Only Just Begun

Article excerpt

JENSON Button is fully expecting the inter-team rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to hot up in the wake of Mercedes' dominant start to the new Formula One season.

After Rosberg cruised to victory in the opening race in Australia two weeks ago, Hamilton followed suit in Malaysia on Sunday as he left his rivals trailing in his wake, including the 28-year-old German in second place For the first time in Hamilton's 131-grand prix career he completed F1's 'grand chelem' of pole position, fastest lap and race win by virtue of leading every lap, such was his superiority.

With Mercedes seemingly in a class of their own at the moment after adapting more rapidly to the new regulations than their rivals, the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg could be a captivating one.

Button certainly feels that will be the case, and said: "It is too early to say whether one of them will win the world championship this year...at least I hope it's too early to say.

"Mercedes do have a big advantage, and an inter-team battle is always going to be fun when they have that kind of advantage over the rest of the field.

"Let's see what happens. It could help us."

Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas offered an insight as to how rivalries can develop within a team after the former ignored orders to allow the latter by in the closing stages of the race.

Massa and Bottas were only squabbling over seventh and eighth, so imagine the increase in tension and pressure when two drivers in the same team are fighting for a championship.

Without doubt some of the greatest title fights in F1 history have involved two drivers from the same team, such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet.

And even Hamilton himself in 2007 with Fernando Alonso.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff concedes the drivers have been warned as to their on-track behaviour, although he knows the team will not always be able to keep a lid on matters.

"The inter-team rivalry has been there since the beginning, since January last year when Lewis joined us," said Wolff.

"What makes the difference is these two guys have known each other for such a long time, have a fair relationship with each other. …

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