Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg: Mercedes pair to battle in 2015

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Hamilton v Rosberg - key moments
BBC F1 review: Lewis Hamilton: Duel of the Silver Arrows
Date: Saturday 27 December Coverage: 13:00 GMT, BBC One

Mercedes plan to let team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle for the title again next season.

Hamilton beat Rosberg to the World Championship by 67 points, but there were several flash points, notably at Monaco, Hungary and Belgium.

Team boss Toto Wolff said: "I'm very optimistic we can continue the way we have done this season - if we can stay on top of the situation.

"If you can't then you need to change the strategy."

Wolff said the relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg "deteriorated a lot" after the first incident in Monaco, when Rosberg went off the track on his final qualifying lap to prevent Hamilton from challenging for pole.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, a triple world champion, said there had been a "big argument", but no-one was able to prove whether Rosberg had deliberately sabotaged Hamilton's qualifying lap.

"Nico said: 'I braked too late and that was it'," Lauda told the BBC's F1 review show, to be screened on BBC One on 27 December at 1300 GMT.

"Lewis said: 'Listen, you braked 10 metres too late. This is on purpose. You brake two metres too late, I can agree with you.'

"It was a difficult time because Lewis did not believe Nico."

Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg: rivals from the start

Hamilton said that his disappointment at missing out on pole was compounded when he saw Rosberg's lap data which showed the way he behaved on the track.

"Having seen the data made it a little harder to swallow," said Hamilton. "That was how I felt and I honestly feel I had the right to feel that way."

He also said he could not understand why the race stewards had acquitted Rosberg of wrongdoing following an investigation.

"I don't - and I still don't," Hamilton said. "The decision came as a bit of a surprise, but it is what it is and there's nothing I can do about it."

In his version of events, Rosberg said the data proved it was a "mistake".

He added: "It's pretty straightforward. I was little bit behind on my split times, so I started to push a little bit more because pole is everything in Monaco.

"I locked my rear wheels a little bit more into that corner, caught the first part and then was looking OK.

"Then I locked up again a second time and I wouldn't have made the corner anymore. In the last moment, I had to steer out to not hit the wall."

The programme also reveals more about the collision and subsequent row between Hamilton and Rosberg at the Belgian Grand Prix.

At the start of lap two, Rosberg touched the back of Hamilton's car, causing the Englishman to puncture.

Hamilton scrambled back to the pits but eventually retired with five laps remaining.

After the race, Wolff and Lauda were both critical of Rosberg, while Hamilton claimed his team-mate admitted in a private meeting that he caused the collision to "prove a point".

Lauda said he "made a mistake" by taking issue with Rosberg before speaking to him about the incident.

"He told me in Vienna this was unfair and I apologised," added the Austrian. "I should have talked to him and then made my criticism.

"He argued that he needs to make a point against Lewis, because Lewis is one of the best overtakers and he can pass people in places you think you can't get through.

"I told Nico there are some drivers who take chances and they get away with it and some don't. Lewis is an expert on this so your try on the outside made no sense. He understood my language and it was OK."