Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton's Monaco GP behaviour wrong say former champions

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Hamilton refused to shake hands with Rosberg in the post-race podium ceremony (©GettyImages)
Hamilton refused to shake hands with Rosberg in the post-race podium ceremony (©GettyImages).

Lewis Hamilton's Monaco Grand Prix behaviour was not up to the standard of a world class racing driver - that is claim of two of the sport's most popular champions.

Last weekend's race was dominated by a raft of incidents between the pair some of which was stirred in the media and others clear for the world to see.

Indeed after their wheel-to-wheel battle for victory in Bahrain three races ago the partnership between former karting team-mates Hamilton and Nico Rosberg appeared to still be as strong as ever as both drivers celebrated a good result for the team with smiles all round.

Since then, however, things have turned increasingly sour. In Spain it is understood Lewis Hamilton used an engine map in the closing laps to hold off Rosberg that was not permitted by the team as the German closed in the final laps.

Then in Monaco the controversy begun in qualifying as Rosberg made a mistake on his final run causing a yellow flag and meaning Hamilton was unable to challenge for pole.

The debate over whether the act was deliberate continues to rumble on social media but it was apparent that by Sunday there was a lot of bad blood between the pair.

Hamilton was keen to take advantage of an early Safety Car period by pitting before the inevitable call to send out the Mercedes SLS was made; indeed the radio messages between the Briton and his engineers on the pit wall over the decision not to do so continued for some time afterwards.

Then after the race, which saw a late vision problem hamper Hamilton's charge and see Rosberg take his second straight win in Monaco, the Briton refused to shake hands or even recognise his team-mate in the post-race podium ceremony.

As Rosberg ended his team-mate's run of four straight wins on the streets of Monte Carlo it also saw the German move back to the top of the drivers' championship.

The incidents on the track were only exacerbated by an interview Hamilton had with the Official F1 website in which he claimed he had a "different hunger" for success than his team-mate because of his poorer upbringing in the UK as Rosberg lived the high life in Monaco.

Speaking to Finnish daily Ilta Sanomat, two-time champion Mika Hakkinen had little positive to say about Hamilton's action in the Principality.

"I appreciate Nico's patience in this situation," said the now 45-year-old, when asked about the falling out.

"I do not like the idea of what Lewis did. It was quite sub-standard behaviour."

In a separate column for Hermes, the Finn was also pessimistic on the chances the relationship could be salvaged.

"It's hard to tell if something is going to change significantly," he said. "I don't know if Lewis would even consider apologising for his behaviour. It is a very individual thing.

"But in my opinion, one of the characteristics of a good winner is that he also knows how to lose," Hakkinen added.

Also critical of Hamilton was British racing legend John Surtees. Writing for his column in Motor Sport Magazine, he questioned the 2008 champion's reaction to the incident in qualifying, after Hamilton claimed he had seen evidence which suggested Rosberg's Mirabeau off had been deliberate.

“I have no doubt about Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability, but I didn’t like what I saw and heard from Monaco,” he explained.

“I can understand the frustration that Lewis must have felt in not having that opportunity on the last lap of qualifying to get pole.

“But I think his reaction to his team-mate and team was wrong.”

Surtees, who remains the only man to win championships on two and four wheels, also believed Hamilton's comments on his and Rosberg's respective upbringings will simply act as motivation for the German.

“If Nico wasn’t already inspired to win his first world championship then Lewis certainly would have provided some material for him to dig even deeper.”

For his part Rosberg seemed largely unaffected by the comments and incidents in Monaco as he claimed victory and the German is hopeful the atmosphere can improve.

"It was one of the more difficult weekends," he said reflecting at a Mercedes event in Italy.

"But I think after a break we will, as always, talk about it," added Rosberg. "I make an effort for teamwork and for the atmosphere in the team."

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