Form being the best of friends while growing up, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton do not even speak to each other anymore.
Their markedly different upbringing did not come in the way of fond association as kids, with Hamilton the kid from the Stevenage council estate and Rosberg coming from a luxurious life in Monaco.
While karting together as teenagers, they used to joke about competing for the Formula 1 world championship while being at the same team some day.
When that eventually became a reality, it was nothing short of a nightmare for the duo and their friendship would never be the same again as a result.
In the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive, Rosberg talks about how this friendship soon became one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport.
“It’s quite unique in the world of sport that your teammate’s your biggest opponent,” Rosberg said.
“With Lewis, it just went too far.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the friction between the duo was “almost impossible to manage”. He further added that the team will consciously make an effort never to repeat that situation again.
Let’s retrace the story of how Hamilton and Rosberg went from close friends to a point where they would rather not see each other’s face.
Mercedes was a lot faster than its competition during pre-season testing. It was obvious, therefore, that one of the two would end up being crowned world champion.
Both the drivers opted for engine settings that had been banned by the team to gain an advantage on the other.
Monaco is perhaps the first real point when it became apparent that their relationship was going to change.
Rosberg held pole position on a tricky street circuit. However, Hamilton was set to overtake him after the German made a mistake. He went down a narrow escape road. Instantly, yellow flags were brought out in the dying moments of qualifying.
Hamilton was left disgusted with what he had witnessed.
“I wish you could have seen the data. I saw something late on last night and all I could do was smile.
They refused to shake hands on the podium after Rosberg won the race. “We are not friends. We are colleagues,” Hamilton said.
Other examples this year include the Grand Prix in Belgium, where Rosberg hit Hamilton on the first lap which eventually led to the British driver retiring early in the race.
Rosberg said he had done this to “prove a point”. Disciplinary measures were soon carried out against Rosberg.
It seemed as though all had been forgotten when Hamilton, who won the championship in the final race, said that Rosberg had been gracious in defeat.
Hamilton eased to a world championship in 2015, giving little room for friction to increase to the degree it had in 2014.
However, during the US Grand Prix, Hamilton pushed Rosberg wide at the first corner. He then threw Rosberg’s cap towards him in the cool down room. The German was far from impressed and threw this back at Hamilton.
Rosberg started the 2016 season in fine form. he won the opening four races to establish breathing space between himself and Hamilton.
However, in the fifth race in Spain, his car entered the wrong engine mode since he had made some mistake with the settings prior to the race.
As Hamilton tried to dive inside, Rosberg closed the door, forcing Hamilton onto the grass.
A frustrated Hamilton lost control and spun into the side of Rosberg.
Both of them ended up in the gravel and out of the race.
There was another collision a couple of months later. This time in Austria, Hamilton was doing his best to overtake Rosberg, who was facing trouble with his brake.
Rosberg didn’t back down, instead forcing Hamilton to the outside part of the circuit.
While this was not enough to stop Hamilton from winning, Rosberg eventually endured a damaged front wing and finished the race in fourth spot.
In the season finale at Abu Dhabi, all Rosberg needed was to finish second. He would be crowned world champion if he managed this.
Hamilton won a splendid race. However, he ignored team orders to slow down as he looked to back Rosberg into the chasing cars.
This did not work out and Rosberg held onto the second spot.
He was subsequently crowned world champion and announced his decision to quit the sport a week later.
Since then, neither of them have had too many positive things to say about each other.
Hamilton had said that he did not see the value in investing his energy to change their relationship.
Rosberg, meanwhile, in 2018 said that he was optimistic they would soon work things out.
“I hope maybe with time one day we can get back to getting on better,” he said.
It seems unlikely that is going to happen any time soon.
Read more: “It would be the greatest thing ever”: Rosberg wants Verstappen to beat Hamilton in opening race