Mercedes should not worry about the storm brewing between team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, according to leading Motorsports psychologist Dr. Paul Castle.
The breakdown in communications between the two drivers was aired very publically after the Monaco Grand Prix, in which Hamilton did not speak to or congratulate Rosberg on the podium after the German took his second Monaco Grand Prix victory in a row.
“I would advise the team bosses to change nothing, so that the publicity remains focused on Mercedes. This type of publicity is not bad publicity,” said Castle, author of Psychology of Motorsport success.
“If there is a ‘feud’, it is raising the profile of the team overall. From a public entertainment point of view, we all seek that in everything we watch; we want some sort of excitement. I don’t know if they need to do anything about the situation.”
Castle also told the 24 Motorsports Blog that the best way to focus a driver is by looking at the future, and not on anything out of their control.
“With the drivers, what I’d say is sometimes what you can’t do is change what is happening within the team, what you can only do is work despite that, work individually with whatever situation is being thrown them.”
Hamilton told members of the media after the race that he and Rosberg are not friends and are just colleagues, after a controversial lock-up in qualifying by Rosberg saw him enter the run off area at Mirabeau, bringing out the yellow flags which in turn ruined Hamilton’s lap, which was quicker than Rosberg’s previous benchmark up to that point.
“If the shoe had been on the other foot we would be having the same conversation about Nico,” said Castle.
“The point about Monaco is if you are in P1 you are in a race winning situation and I think that’s what Lewis may have been upset about because he was on a flying lap, all the evidence suggests that he would have made P1.”
Castle likens the focus of media attention on Mercedes caused by the apparent feud between its drivers to a similar situation at Red Bull last year.
“As long as the team is at the front of the publicity, does it really matter what’s going on between the team mates. If the attention is being directed at the drivers it has been directed away from other teams.
“What’s nice about this season is the tension has been diverted away from Red Bull for a change, but really are we not talking about the same sort of issue with Vettel and Webber last year?”
Although Hamilton may have suffered a blow to his title hopes, Castle explains that it is a long season, and it is unlikely to deter the 2008 champion.
“Potentially some people are saying the Championship would have been won if Hamilton had won in Monaco psychologically speaking.
“I think it’s far too early to say, it will go down to the wire. I think he will take every race as it comes and that it’s business as usual.”
The duel between Hamilton and Rosberg will continue at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 6, where the Mercedes’ advantage over the other teams should be greater than on the streets of Monaco. Lewis has three wins and three pole positions at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, with Nico’s highest finishing position being fifth.