Exclusive – Hamilton opens up on Rosberg rivalry: ‘There was no time to be friends’

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Newly crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has opened up on his relationship with Mercedes team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg, saying the pair ‘didn’t have time to be friends’ while they were battling for the drivers’ title.

Pals from childhood, Hamilton and Rosberg grew up on the karting circuit together before they both made the step up to motor racing’s premier competition.

But that long friendship was tested this season as the Brit and German went head-to-head for the championship – a competition packed with controversy which eventually went down to the wire.

Both drivers were in contention come the climax in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the divisive double points rule, but it was Hamilton who reigned supreme, claiming his 11th victory of a phenomenal campaign with ease to become only the fourth Briton to win more than one title.

Headlines were made of their fierce rivalry throughout an enthralling contest, but, asked if it was unfair to assume the pair no longer see eye to eye, Hamilton told Drivetime: “It is, yeah.

“Naturally it’s difficult for us, because this year we were fighting seriously for the world championship.

“There was no time to be friends, in terms of going out to dinner together and being chums, we were there to win, he was there to beat me and I was there to beat him.

“But ultimately, at the end, he came over [to say congratulations after the final race] so that foundation of a friendship we built when we were kids is still there, and there was a lot of respect in that gesture, which I appreciated.”

Indeed, Rosberg threatened to spoil his team-mates’ dominant season at the final hurdle thanks to the debut of the double points.

Going into the Abu Dhabi finale, Hamilton knew he had secure second spot if pole-sitter Rosberg maintained his place until the chequered flag.

It wasn’t the dream race for the German, however, as engine troubles saw him come home in 14th, a whole lap behind the Brit.

The FIA are thought to be considering dropping the controversial rules for the 2015 season, and Hamilton admitted he would be happy if double points don’t make a return.

He added: “I definitely liked that I got the points!

“Of course, going into the last race, it was a strange addition to the rules and I’ll be glad if next year that won’t be the case.

“It will definitely make it a bit more even going into the final race.”

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