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Flying Scot bemoans Merc duo's feud

Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart speaking to the media at the paddock of the Marina Bay street circuit yesterday. The Scot did not mince his words when it came to the rivalry between Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, calling them out for one
Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart speaking to the media at the paddock of the Marina Bay street circuit yesterday. The Scot did not mince his words when it came to the rivalry between Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, calling them out for one coming together too many.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The stories about him are all true. Jackie Stewart really does speak his mind and he certainly did not hold back when he shared his views on the Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg rivalry.

Speaking to The Straits Times inside Rolex's suite at the Paddock Club, the Scot, clad in his trademark flat cap and Tartan pants, was vocal in his disapproval of the Mercedes duo who have dominated Formula One headlines this season with their clashes.

While the duelling makes for compelling television viewing, the three-time world champion analysed the tension differently.

He said: "All of the really good ones (F1 drivers) are the regular (Grands Prix) finishers. (Sebastian) Vettel is very intelligent, (Fernando) Alonso is very intelligent.

"You saw too many errors made by both Rosberg and his team-mate. Too many times they had come together and that is not allowed.

"Hamilton's more aggressive, Rosberg can be more defensive and therefore, there will be a coming together."

A DISMISSABLE OFFENCE IN HIS BOOK

In the Spanish GP, both cars were taken out in the first corner of the first lap. I would have sacked both of them for doing that.

JACKIE STEWART, three-time world champion, on how he would have dealt with Rosberg and Hamilton after their crash in Spain.

Stewart, 77, readily cited this year's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona as a prime example of why the clashes do more harm than good.

He explained: "In the Spanish Grand Prix, both cars were taken out in the first corner of the first lap. That will not be allowed. I would have sacked both of them for doing that.

"That's a slight exaggeration but there is no excuse because the race is 66 laps, so why do you have an accident on the first lap?"

Stewart was clearly showing his sharpest wit as he entertained guests for the watchmaker. He has been an ambassador for the Swiss brand since April 1968.

He said with a laugh: "It's nearly 50 years but I don't like to hear that because I am actually only 32."

But he was not joking when it came to differentiating the good drivers from the rash ones.

He hailed Juan Manuel Fangio and Jim Clark as the two greatest drivers for "mind management" alongside others like Alberto Ascari, Niki Lauda and Alain Prost, although he is not overly impressed with fast drivers.

He said: "You got to be quick but a lot of people are too quick, they will kiss the barrier, use up the brakes, damage the tyres.

"Usually the ruthless ones cause trouble. You got to sometimes recognise that sometimes you can't win (a race) but you need to finish. You will have to go a little bit gently and pick up more world championship points so your next Grand Prix will be a good one."

And hauntingly, while Stewart admires the achievements of Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian pushed himself to the brink. With tragic consequences.

"Senna was absolutely fast and furious. When he came in (to the pit), his eyes... his pupils were enlarged. Really wound up. He was very successful, but he also died (from crashing in Imola in 1994)."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Flying Scot bemoans Merc duo's feud'. Print Edition | Subscribe