Jones: Hamilton/Rosberg feud to escalate
Conflict between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be inevitable, according to former world champion Alan Jones.
The pair endured an intense dice to decide a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday with Hamilton just edging Rosberg to the top step of the podium.
It is an intra-team rivalry described as the most hair-raising since the infamous tussles between McLaren heavyweights Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
The Bahrain dogfights signalled the second race in succession that the two team-mates have been locked in close quarters combat.
Although the duo share a close friendship developed since their karting days, Jones is predicting the relationship will be stretched to breaking point with more feuds.
“It was fantastic to see Hamilton and Rosberg battle and I think we need to see more of it,” the 1980 F1 world champion told Speedcafe.com.
“They kept the whole thing alive by dicing with one and other.
“Human nature would dictate that it would take two very strong characters to maintain a very a close friendship.
“If the cars are going to be that close then there is going to be contact and compromises, and it just depends with how they deal with it.”
Mercedes is yet to enforce team orders upon its drivers with executive director Paddy Lowe stating after the battle, that the pair will be free to race each other throughout the season.
This is in contrast to last year when there were team orders between the pair at the Malaysian GP which was largely overshadowed by Red Bull’s Multi 21 fiasco when Sebastian Vettel defied team orders to overtake Mark Webber and win.
The former McLaren employee Lowe is adamant team orders in this situation would damage the sport.
“Team orders – putting in artificial constraints – is such a terrible thing for the entertainment/the spectacle, so we believe we should let the guys race, particularly in a situation where we have a pretty dominant car, which has become clear now,” Lowe said.
“It is all the more important to keep providing that entertainment and that excitement, for all of us. That is what it is all about.
“In any case, when you start putting in team orders, everyone gets unhappy. You just end up with everyone being a loser.
“We determined from the outset that we would want our drivers to race from lights-to-flag and that is what we did.”
Jones echoes Lowe’s thoughts although he believes team orders may have played a part during the Hamilton/Rosberg dice in Bahrain.
“When you line up on the grid at a Grand Prix you are there to win it,” added Jones.
“I wouldn’t like anybody to dictate I had to maintain station if I thought I had a chance to pass him.
“I think it is debatable whether there are team orders or not.
“It depends how you read Paddy Lowe’s comments about bringing home the cars safe and in one piece.
“Does that mean don’t race and stay where you are, or just be careful when you are racing?”