Nico Rosberg has reiterated his view that team-mate Lewis Hamilton went 'one step too far' in his defence of the lead at the start of the United States Grand Prix, but insists the 'cap throwing incident' afterwards was simply 'usual games'.
Though the 2015 season arguably saw fewer high profile flashpoints between Rosberg and Hamilton compared with an occasionally bitter 2014 title battle, matters came back to a head at the United States Grand Prix when Hamilton forced his Mercedes counterpart wide at the first corner in damp conditions, dropping him to fifth briefly.
With Rosberg fighting back to take the lead in changeable conditions, a mistake in the closing stages would allow Hamilton to snatch the advantage, his subsequent win enabling him to wrap up the world title with three races remaining.
With Hamilton celebrating, the tension between the two was made visibly apparent when Hamilton threw a cap into Rosberg's lap ahead of the podium, which the German responded by throwing it back at him. Rosberg then proceeded to criticise Hamilton for his aggressive driving, prompting Mercedes to instigate 'cool down' talks for fear of worsening relations.
With Rosberg going on to reassert some authority over Hamilton by triumphing in the final three races of the season, he nonetheless maintains Hamilton went 'too far' on that day even if it didn't ultimately affect the outcome.
"It was one step too far, too much,” he told the BBC
. “His approach to it - in what he was thinking when he decided to drive into me. That was not good. It wasn't really the race decider because I did manage to fight back past Lewis, pass the Red Bulls, take the lead, go off into the distance, and then get pulled back by the safety car, because I had a 10-second lead.
"Then the second safety car destroyed my second lead of a couple of seconds and then I messed up myself, which was hugely annoying. Not good; don't like doing that and especially in a way I had really never done before.
Regarding the cap throwing though, Rosberg played it down, saying '"It's our usual games. He passes me the cap; I pass it back in my frustration."