Mercedes denies Hamilton refusing to test
"Lewis is still on the schedule"
Mercedes has played down reports that Lewis Hamilton is refusing to get back to work this week.
In Abu Dhabi, it had been agreed that whichever Mercedes driver won the title would head to a Petronas event in Malaysia on Monday.
And the other would stay in Abu Dhabi to drive Mercedes’ modified 2015 test car for the Pirelli tyre test.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper that he was actually looking forward to trying the 2017 slicks for the first time.
"For me, the tyres are new so I’m curious," said the Dutchman.
But the German newspaper Bild claims that Hamilton, who is reportedly facing sanctions by Mercedes by refusing team orders on Sunday, is now refusing to test on Tuesday.
A team spokesman is quoted by Germany’s Sport1: "That is not correct.
"Lewis is still on the schedule and expected to drive."
It is clear at least that some tension has crept into the Mercedes-Hamilton relationship, with boss Toto Wolff bristling that Hamilton found an ally for his tactics on Sunday in the form of Red Bull’s Christian Horner.
"Maybe he (Hamilton) should drive for him (Horner)," Wolff said on Sunday, not just to British television Sky but also separately to the Channel 4 broadcaster.
A rumour even swirled in the Abu Dhabi paddock that Hamilton had threatened to quit the team altogether following his collision with Rosberg in Spain.
"That’s all private stuff," Hamilton said, refusing to deny it.
"It’s all in the past so it doesn’t really matter."