Hamilton/Rosberg row continues ahead of British GP this weekend
Lewis Hamilton ‘destroyed’ a room in the Mercedes hospitality area after qualifying for the European Grand Prix, his boss Niki Lauda has revealed.
The world champion is said to have been angry after clipping a barrier and losing out on pole position to his team-mate Nico Rosberg at the race in Azerbaijan three weeks ago.
Lauda, the Mercedes chairman, also claimed that Hamilton had ‘lied’ in claiming that his relationship with Rosberg was better than ever — adding fuel to the internal conflict within the world championship team ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Lauda was asked about the room incident on Red Bull-owned Austrian TV station Servus, replying: ‘He did it because he had crashed. He’ll have to pay for that. You can count on that.
Lewis Hamilton before the European Grand Prix earlier this month. Picture/AP
‘He told me I couldn’t come in because he was going to destroy everything. That is how it was.’
Hamilton had a bad weekend in Baku — the race before last — qualifying 10th, finishing fifth and falling 24 points behind Rosberg, the championship leader, who won the grand prix.
Lauda’s comments caused a stir in the overworked Mercedes PR team just days after team principal Toto Wolff said his drivers were ‘brainless’ to have crashed on the last lap in the following round in Austria last weekend.
Mercedes downplayed Lauda’s comments, saying that, although Hamilton was angry, the room was not ‘destroyed’.
Referring to Hamilton’s claim in a recent Mail on Sunday interview that his relationship with Rosberg is ‘really, really good’, Lauda said: ‘Lewis lied about that, simple as that.
Lewis Hamilton leads his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg during the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend. Picture/AP
‘He just said something. He wanted to be the softener in order to have his peace last weekend (in Austria).
‘He does what he can. The fight gets hotter the longer Nico is in front.’
Lauda’s comments were recorded before last Sunday’s race, where Hamilton won after Rosberg barged into him on the final lap, damaging himself. The German finished fourth to see his lead cut to 11 points, as Mercedes bosses shook their heads in annoyance.
It was the third time this season the pair have collided. Now Lauda and Wolff are threatening to introduce team orders — telling their drivers not to race against each other but to fit in with what is best for the team.