World champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg smoothed over the cracks in their partnership with polished assurance on Wednesday.
Ten days after their spectacular collision on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, they gave a good impression of wondering what all the fuss was about.
Understandably, like everyone else arriving in the cramped waterside paddock for this weekend’s classic Monaco Grand Prix, they wanted to look ahead and talk about a race that defines drivers’ talents and lives in the memory longer than most.
The media, however, does not work quite like that and, to the Mercedes team’s credit, and the two drivers, they recognised the reality and faced it.
A few years ago, when Hamilton was not a defending three-time world champion, but a younger driver in pursuit of fame, glory, success and wealth, such pressure tended to result in impetuous outbursts of emotion.
He has grown up and so have both his team-mate, who leads this year’s title race by 43 points, and his team. Theirs is a mutual and collective understanding of how things are done best under stress.
“It’s really just a showing of growth, within Nico and I,” said Hamilton. “We stood and spoke to each other today. And, no problems
“In the past, there would have been some kind of tension, of some sort, but it was pure respect.
“Just ‘we have all respect for you’ and he said the same. We said ‘let’s just keep racing.’
“It doesn’t change anything in how we’re going to approach our racing I think it’s just that we’re getting old!
“We’re good at our jobs and we know it and we’re getting older ”
Talking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s race, Hamilton confirmed the team had held meetings to discuss the incident in Spain that removed both men and their cars from the race.
“It’s always good to discuss things so, as a team, we did — in Barcelona and then at the factory. And, I guess, individually. And, with Nico, I spoke just now. I didn’t feel we had to because, again, we’re in that frame of mind — there is no issue.
“You just move on and move forwards. There’s nothing you can do about the past
“We didn’t talk through the incident. We didn’t need to We know what happened. We were there.
“We know how we felt about it, but we’re not like the more emotional beings on the planet who talk a lot about these things.
“We don’t need to do that. We arrived very cooled and chilled and, as I said, all we need to know is that the respect is still there. We’re going to keep racing. Everything’s cool.”
For his part, Rosberg conceded that he had chosen the wrong mode for his engine at the time of the accident in Spain.
“It was in the wrong position and it was my job to put it in the right position, It’s pretty simple,” he explained. “There is not much more to say.”
Intriguingly, and unlike Hamilton, he declined to elaborate on any meetings they held to discuss the Spanish crash.
“If we have spoken or not, that needs to be kept internally,” he said. “But I can say, between the two of us, it is in the past now. The relationship is the same as before
“Going out on track, I am not thinking about Barcelona. I am going flat out to try to win the Grand Prix, which is what I have come here to do.”
So why not tell the media about it? “I don’t want to,” he said. “I just don’t feel like it.” – Agence France-Presse