Nico Rosberg says he has not been surprised to be facing problems with team-mate Lewis Hamilton so early in the season.

Hamilton felt Rosberg had deliberately gone off the track in Monaco to prevent him taking pole position from his team-mate, but since the race weekend the two have cleared the air and Hamilton now claims that things between the two "have never been better. Having played down the size of the fallout between the two drivers, Rosberg also said such incidents were to be expected.

"Am I surprised that we have certain difficulties early on when we're both fighting for every race win? No," Rosberg said. "They have always been there and even back in go karting we've had difficulties because even then we were racing all the time for the race win, so I'm not surprised."

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And Rosberg said there was nothing out of the ordinary about the fact that he and Hamilton had to clear the air after Monaco.

"I wouldn't say it's too unusual, we've always had periods where it's a bit more difficult but we've always had that base respect. It goes back 15 years and that's the important one and as a result we always discuss things and move on. That's how it's been this time this too."

Following Hamilton's comments that he and Rosberg were "not friends, but colleagues", Rosberg admitted their relationship was naturally harder to maintain in the midst of a title battle.

"It's not changed in any way, it's still the same as it used to be, it's no different. But of course it's more difficult, that's clear. We are fighting every single race weekend, that's it, that's where we are. It definitely makes it more difficult, there's more at stake. There is the opportunity of winning the championship this year; that is the ultimate goal in racing so there's a lot at stake."

Rosberg added that while he tries to shut out the interest around himself and Hamilton, he understands their battle is good for the sport.

"I want to win races. Everything I do is focused on that. At the same time you are writing for the fans who, in the end, are there, are the most important, and that's why we're racing. So there's a fine line, and I need to try to give you some cool stuff, but I want to try to avoid giving things that unnecessarily heat the moment even more.

"You're trying to build it into a war, which I can understand because it makes it more exciting, so I want to avoid adding unnecessary fuel."