Melbourne: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are set to renew their rivalry as the 2015 F1 season kicks off with their Mercedes team looking likely to dominate Sunday's Australian GP.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Pic/AFP
Hamilton and Rosberg fought an acrimonious battle for the title marked by several flashpoints on and off the track last year, in a season utterly dominated by Mercedes who won 16 of the 19 races. Hamilton claimed 11 of those wins to Rosberg's five, to take his second title win at the season-finale in Abu Dhabi, following which the former childhood friends buried the hatchet.
Battle will continue
But signs from pre-season testing indicate Mercedes have pulled further ahead of the opposition, and with the opening series of races likely to be a two-horse race, the duo is prepared for a ratcheting up of tensions once again.
"It's been a great battle and I'm sure it's going to continue," Rosberg told reporters at a Mercedes breakfast on Melbourne's St Kilda Beach yesterday morning.
"It's going to continue to have its ups and downs and its easy phases and its difficult phases. I think that's quite natural but I'm confident that we'll manage another great season."
Hamilton shot back with a volley of his own. "I anticipate a very similar season to last year," the Briton said when asked whether the duo would approach their rivalry differently to avoid their relationship getting as acrimonious as last year, a reference to two of the biggest flashpoints between the pair at Monaco and Spa.