By Alan Baldwin
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton has aimed another little dig at Formula One title rival Nico Rosberg by jokingly suggesting ahead of next week's German Grand Prix that it is not his Mercedes team mate's home race.
Hamilton enjoyed huge support on his way to winning his home British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday but he questioned how many fans would be cheering for Germany's Rosberg, the championship leader, at Hockenheim.
"To be honest Nico has never actually been in Germany, so it's not really his home race," he told British reporters with a laugh.
"I remember when we used to race in karting, he didn't stand next to a German flag. Ever.
"We'd have to go on the start line and all the drivers would stand next to the grid girl, in a line.
"The girls would be holding the flag or a sign saying Hungary, or whatever, and he always stood by Monaco. He never stood by Germany."
Rosberg, the 29-year-old son of Finland's 1982 world champion Keke, was born in the German town of Wiesbaden to a German mother but moved to Monaco in infancy.
The German still lives in the Mediterranean principality and also calls that grand prix a home race.
"I've known him growing up in Monaco so I know Monaco's his home," said British-born Hamilton, who is now also a Monaco resident.
Rosberg leads Hamilton by four points after nine races with 10 remaining.
His compatriot Sebastian Vettel has won the past four championships for Red Bull but has not stood on top of the podium since the end of 2013 and this year's title is a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers.
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, who is Austrian, said recently that he felt the German public was warming to Rosberg - a keen soccer fan who has been prominent in supporting the national team's progression at the World Cup.
"It changed, I think, a month ago," he told the Guardian newspaper last week.
"That was when we noticed the Facebook and Twitter activity with Nico going up a lot.
"There was less passion in Germany for Nico, for whatever reason, while the emotional momentum behind Lewis is enormous in the UK. I haven't seen that with any other driver. But now Germans are getting behind Nico much more."
Hamilton recognised Rosberg could expect more support than in the past, however.
"He'll have a busier week there than I will, just as I had busier week here than he did. But that'll be good. It's always good to beat others on their own turf." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Nick Mulvenney)
- Sports & Recreation
- Nico Rosberg
- Lewis Hamilton