Pit Stop

Pit Stop: Lewis Hamilton's mind games just shows he's hungry for success

Comments about nationality unlikely to faze Nico Rosberg, but it won't stop Briton having a go

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 10:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 10:12pm

Just how German do you have to be to be considered a German driver in F1? Ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix, there has been a suggestion Nico Rosberg may not be all that German after all.

Of course, this comment comes not from the German government, but from Rosberg's teammate Lewis Hamilton.

It's all part of the mind games that F1 drivers play, and Hamilton will deploy any card to gain an advantage as the two-horse race of the F1 world championship reaches the halfway mark.

The white noise of posturing from Hamilton's side of the pit garage is looking to seep into Rosberg's consciousness

He told The Guardian newspaper about his time karting with Rosberg: "We would have to go on the start line and all the drivers would have to stand next to a grid girl in a line.

"The girls would be holding the flags or a sign saying Hungary or whatever, and he always stood by the Monaco one. He never stood by a German flag. He is German-Finnish-Monaco-esque, or whatever. So it would be great to win in Germany."

The truth of the matter is that Rosberg is German, having been born in Wiesbaden. But his father is the Finnish former F1 champion Keke, and Rosberg moved to Monaco when he was four months old. So maybe Hamilton has a point, although he is standing on thin ice.

After all, this is guy who played some mind games earlier in the season by rubbishing his own birthplace in the UK: "Let me tell you this: I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad's apartment, while Rosberg grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats, and all these kind of things, so the hunger is different."

In the last few years, Hamilton moved to Switzerland, and then to Monaco of all places, so he's neighbours with Rosberg, and a lot of the rest of the grid for that matter. F1 itself operates beyond borders as a global sport.

Fans might support a driver from their country, but you imagine the Germans were a little more excited about goings on in Brazil last weekend than Rosberg appearing at Hockenheim seven days on.

What all this nonsense about nationality (or privilege) does prove though, is that Hamilton is hungry for success.

"The pressure is high, but I really feel that now we're back," Hamilton said. "We'll draw a line under the last nine races and it's attack mode. Start again using my pace and the car's pace."

Once again, the white noise of posturing from Hamilton's side of the pit garage is looking to seep into Rosberg's consciousness. You imagine that Rosberg is too savvy to let any of this bother him, but it won't stop Hamilton having a go.

The positivity of the British driver comes from the British Grand Prix. Hamilton won and Rosberg failed to finish, closing the gap to four points in the championship.

Of course, this being Hamilton, his triumph at Silverstone was earned the hard way after a mistake in qualifying. He aborted his last qualifying run, thinking the job was done in the rain, only to see five drivers better his time.

He cut a forlorn, crestfallen figure afterwards. But by race day, he was back to his cheerful best and drove beautifully. Before Rosberg's retirement, you expected him to sweep up to him and pass with ease.

Hamilton said the crowd played their part, but mainly it was down to his family. He said they had lifted him back up. It just goes to prove it doesn't really matter what country your passport says you're from. More important is your family, even in this sport.

On that, both Hamilton and Rosberg can agree.