Wolff: Rosberg was 'vicious' in his battle with Hamilton

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Mercedes team boss has suggested that Nico Rosberg was the more 'vicious' of the two drivers in the team's 2016 line-up.

Rosberg won the world championship after a hard-fought battle with his team mate Lewis Hamilton. It's usually suggested that Hamilton was the aggressive, hard-headed one in their battle - but Wolff suggests this was not the case.

Asked by the Daily Mail newspaper which of the drivers had been the "real schemer", Wolff replied: "The one who is no longer here.

"The vicious one," he added. "Nico just tried to use all the weapons he had ... There were all the psycho games that you can play to destabilise your rival."

Wolff implied that Rosberg needed to adopt such methods in order to overcome the more naturally "gifted and talented" Hamilton. He even went as far as suggesting that Rosberg had deliberately crashed in qualifying at Monaco in 2014 to thwart Hamilton's efforts to take pole.

"I have an answer but I am thinking how you would write it," he replied carefully when asked about the notorious incident. "It caused friction in the relationship. That was a big one."

Rosberg and Hamilton were team mates for four years. Wolff said periodic huge bust-ups between the drivers had shaped how the rest of each season would play out.

"Each year there was a biggie that had a major impact on their relationship," he said. "When you operate at that high level as a sportsman you are certainly sensitive. Both were. It affected them both."

And Wolff suggested that the long personal history between Rosberg and Hamilton - going back years before Formula 1 - played a huge part.

‘They came from very different environments and raced each other as they grew up," he pointed out. "It’s not going to be all plain sailing when two team-mates have a car good enough to win the championship.

"Add in the luggage of the past and the games that are played."

Wolff was reported earlier in the week as suggesting that Rosberg could return to Formula 1. But Rosberg has categorically denied the story, and Wolff has now backtracked on the original quotes.

"I would be even more surprised if he is back in Formula 1 again next year," Wolff told the German broadcaster Sky.

"You can see how stories like this are created in Formula 1," he added.

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