Their relationship comes across as genuine comradeship, the laughter and the asides in public, the friendly jabs on social media, the brand-conscious teammates looking out for each other, for the team.
But one look at the time sheets of the Malaysian Grand Prix makes you wonder. It’s almost like a heavy-weight title bout. Both fighters not giving in. Both trading massive blows. Friday FP1 and Lewis topped the times. Nico came back in FP2 confirming Mercedes’ current form.
The bout continued into Saturday with the German signalling his intentions. To knock out. FP3 was his. Then in a delayed-due-to-rain Q1, he shows what he’s got. But in Q2 Hamilton shows he means business by going fastest. Then to add even more drama in Q3, nature plays its part. Heavier rain. But by then Lewis had beaten Nico to it.
Rosberg now found himself battling for P2 with the defending world champion. The Red Bull driver using rain as a leveller managed to shock the top steps of the podium.
What must be running through each of the top three qualifier’s minds is disguised by the brand commitments and etiquette of present day Formula 1 in the TV interviews.
All eyes on the start. There can only be one winner at Sepang. Come rain or sunshine.
P1 Hamilton â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1m 59.431s
P2 Vettel â€“ RBR RenaultÂ 1m 59.486s
P3 Rosberg â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 2m 00.050s