As we near the end of 2015, we take a look back at some of the best – and worst – F1 moments making the headlines over the last twelve months…
Once bitten, not so twice shy for Rosberg
Not content with sparring on track – although sadly there wasn't too much of that in 2015 – German F1 rivals Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel took their rivalry into the media room, entertaining hard-bitten journalists with some off-track banter on more than one occasion.
The jousting started at round one, with Rosberg highlighting Vettel's upper hand over Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen while suggesting that it would be nice for the Prancing Horse to offer more competition to Mercedes. Vettel responded by questioning his rival's relationship with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, quickly gaining the advantage in the exchange of views.
The 'spat' resumed in full force at Suzuka, where Vettel dared to poke fun at Mercedes' run-in with the stewards over their tyre pressure en route
to victory in the Italian Grand Prix. This time, Rosberg had little in response, except a look that suggested he may have involuntarily ingested a wasp….
On both occasions, racewinner Lewis Hamilton kept well out of the way of the barbs, smiling contentedly despite sitting in the middle of the Teutonic tension.
Vettel may not have had superiority on track, although he did manage three race wins against the silver machine, but he certainly held the high ground when it came to verbals…
First published: 17th March 2015
Vettel berates Rosberg over team-mate jibe
UPDATE: Nico Rosberg issues an 'official' invite to Sebastian Vettel to come to their garage during the Malaysian Grand Prix... see below
He may have lost out on track, but Sebastian Vettel comfortably 'won' the post-race press conference as he joked about Mercedes' dominance and scorned Nico Rosberg for a comment that questioned his disappointment that Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish.
With Hamilton and Rosberg picking up from where they left off in 2014 with a dominant 1-2 in the Australian Grand Prix, much attention was instead focused on Vettel in the post-race press call as he marked his Ferrari debut with an impressive run to the podium.
However, Vettel would play on his evident good mood as he called Rosberg out on his comment that he would like to see rivals compete with Mercedes by saying he should allow him into the Mercedes garage.
“We know it would be good if they can come a bit closer, as long as they don't come too close…” said Rosberg referring to Ferrari.
A smiling Vettel responded: “Be honest. Do you really hope so? Seriously? You finished 30secs ahead of us and you hope it's going to be closer? So you hope you slow down? Is that what you're saying?
“I hope you can give us a challenge,” Rosberg continued. “It's important for the sport and for the fans. And I do think about the show. Half of me – or part of me – thinks about the show because I want to give people a great time at home watching on TV or at the track. If you do come a bit closer, that would be awesome for everybody.”
Vettel continued on: “First suggestion, if you don't mind, I think your garage becomes public for Malaysia and everyone can come have a look. No? I'm joking”
Undeterred, Rosberg replied: “You can come if you want, we can invite you…”
Vettel – “OK, thank you for the invite, I'll come. Engineers' room? Debrief, I'll be there.
The sparring between the two continued on later in the press conference when Rosberg questioned Vettel over whether he was genuinely disappointed to see his team-mate Raikkonen retire, the four-time champion responding by berating the relationship of the two Mercedes drivers.
“Yes… I don't know how much you like each other [Rosberg and Hamilton] but Kimi and myself we get along, so I think it is a shame.”
Rosberg attempted to justify his comment: “I thought as a racing driver you might like it that you have a couple of points' advantage over him now. I don't want you off the foot there, sorry…”
Round one on track: Mercedes
Round one off track: Sebastian Vettel
Rosberg isn't going to let this one lie... he has now 'formally' invited Vettel to the garage during the Malaysian Grand Prix, though it remains to be seen whether he will get to see the good stuff, or just the standard garage tour….
Unfortunately, given Vettel isn't on Twitter, it remains to be seen whether he will even see his invite... and as comebacks go, two days on is just too late!
We reckon it's still 1-0 to Sebastian here...
Rosberg left unimpressed with Vettel tyre pressure joke