Mexican stand-off looms for Hamilton, Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton (right) gets to grips with a wrestler at the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City on Wednesday, to promote the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton (right) gets to grips with a wrestler at the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City on Wednesday, to promote the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY • Nico Rosberg wants to clear the air with newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton when the Mercedes team gather at the "high altitude" Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez ahead of this weekend's Mexican Grand Prix.

Four days after the spectacular and tumultuous United States Grand Prix in Texas, where the pair clashed on Turn 1 before Hamilton secured a bold, title-clinching triumph, the 30-year-old German wants an explanation of their wheel-touching duel.

After the race, he accused the 30-year-old Briton of going a "step too far" with his aggression.

Hamilton rejected Rosberg's claims, saying he had won the inside line for the corner with a superior start off the grid, but the German disagreed.

"I think it's pretty clear," said Rosberg. "I'm ahead mid-corner and I have a right to a piece of track and he's driving me off the road and banging into me.

"There was contact, it seemed quite heavy contact on the steering wheel because we banged wheels, so that's not on - it's one big step too far, which is not good.

"It needs to be discussed. And I'm not sure about anything going forward."

But Rosberg conceded: "It wasn't the key to the race because the main thing was my mistake.

"I got it wrong," he said, of his late unforced error that gifted victory and the title to Hamilton. "And it's really tough to lose the race like I did. It was a tough day."

While the Mercedes drivers discuss their rivalry, their engineers - in common with most teams - will focus on preparation for the first race at altitude in the modern "turbo era".

The Mexico track is at an altitude of 2,200m and will test the cooling efficiency and reliability of the turbo engines to their limits.

"The issue is going to be cooling, for sure," said Renault's operations director Remi Taffin. "You have the same amount of energy coming from the engine and much less air to cope (with) it.

"The other thing is the turbo... to try to maintain the power output, you need to rev the turbo much higher than normal.

"Obviously, we have done a lot of simulation but we know that we are going somewhere we don't know."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2015, with the headline 'Mexican stand-off looms for Hamilton, Rosberg'. Print Edition | Subscribe