All eyes on Hamilton, Rosberg
SPA, Belgium (AP):
All eyes will be on Mercedes at the Belgian Grand Prix as the increasingly tense rivalry between championship leader Nico Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton resumes following a summer break.
Tensions reached boiling point at last month's Hungarian GP, when Hamilton expressed outrage at being told to allow Rosberg through in a thrilling race. Hamilton refused team orders, invariably costing Rosberg victory, and only 11 points separate the two.
"It was a bit of a mess afterwards, after Hungary, so it's best I don't add too much," Rosberg said yesterday at a news conference. "Now we're moving forward, but of course, I've learnt various things from that race which I will try to adapt to in the future."
There had also been friction between them earlier this season at the Monaco GP with Hamilton infuriated after Rosberg crashed late in qualifying, prompting the safety car to come out and deny Hamilton what looked like a certain pole position. Rosberg won it from pole and the atmosphere between them was frosty on the podium.
"If there is any unclear air, it will be cleared before the weekend starts, for sure," Hamilton told reporters ahead of today's first practice session. "I think it's very clear for me. I'm not sure it's the same the other side."
Although Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo won in Hungary, Hamilton's brilliant drive saw him finish third after starting from 22nd on the grid and helped him close the gap on Rosberg, who finished a disappointing fourth despite starting from pole.