Nico Rosberg appreciates his Mercedes bosses have endured a "very difficult" time handling his relationship with Lewis Hamilton this season.
Motorsport boss Toto Wolff, non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and executive technical director Paddy Lowe have been forced to contend with a fair share of issues between Rosberg and Hamilton.
The partnership threatened to explode at one point over the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend in late May when Rosberg took pole via a dubious manoeuvre during qualifying that Hamilton believed was deliberate.
A one-two followed, with Rosberg taking the chequered flag ahead of a furious Hamilton, resulting in neither acknowledging the other during a tense podium ceremony.
Wolff and Lauda did well to keep the lid on that particular saga, and whilst there have been other niggles along the way, for now there is a peace of sorts. But with the championship a two-horse race as the duo are separated by just 14 points, there is plenty of opportunity yet for the battle to become truly explosive.
Asked whether he felt there would have been more fireworks by now, Rosberg was cryptic with his response: “You don’t know, maybe there have been more fireworks. There could have been.”
For those in charge, though, Rosberg admitted: “It’s difficult, very difficult.
“We need to work as a team, but there comes a point where you want to beat the other guy. It’s a fine line.”
Rosberg’s challenge this season is to score his first career podium at the Hungaroring where Hamilton has won four times in seven years. Yesterday, Hamilton at least continued his love affair with the track as he finished quickest at the end of both practice sessions.
Quickest in FP1 when the medium-compound tyre was used throughout, Hamilton posted a time of one minute 25.814 seconds, finishing 0.183secs clear of Rosberg.
Come FP2 when the drivers were allowed a run on the soft Pirelli rubber, the faster of the two choices this weekend, Hamilton improved to 1:24.482secs, with Rosberg down by 0.238secs.
Reigning four-times champion Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull and double title-holder in Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso were the only two drivers to finish within a second of Hamilton.
McLaren’s Jenson Button was 1.752secs back in ninth, with Marussia’s Max Chilton down in 21st and just over four seconds in arrears.
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