'The mental aspect is always a part' - Rosberg
Nico Rosberg says mind games will always feature in a championship battle as intense as the one he and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton are engaged in, but insists he is trying to remain rational.
Rosberg retook the lead of the drivers' championship at the Monaco Grand Prix after a tense weekend that resulted in the two drivers not talking to each other on the podium. Before the race Hamilton said he was hungrier than Rosberg because he had a tougher upbringing - a comment that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was happy to let slip as part of the mind games between the two drivers - and it emerged both drivers had used restricted engine maps at previous races.
But while Hamilton appears willing to show his emotions to the media, Rosberg said he would rather remain rational and get on with the business of winning races.
"The mental aspect is always a part," he said. "It's always there and I do think about it, because in sport it is a factor, the mental side to it.
"I don't want to compare myself to him [Hamilton]. In general I try to err towards the rational side, but it's sometimes very difficult in this sport and in the heat of the moment. I try to be a little bit towards the rational side, but that is not compared to anyone else.
"I am confident enough to believe at any track, if I get my car to my liking, then the chance is there to win. So I don't go into this weekend any different."
Rosberg said it was no surprise to have tensions bubbling over so early in the season.
"Am I surprised that we are having certain difficulties early on when we are both fighting for every race win? No. They've always been there, even back in go-karting we had difficulties because we were always racing for the race wins, so I am not surprised, no.
"I didn't see it as too unusual. We have always had periods where it was more difficult, but we have that base respect that goes back 15 years and that's the important one. As a result we always discuss things and move on, and that's how it's been this time too."
But Rosberg admits that having the championship at stake does up the pressure within the team.
"Of course it's more difficult, we are fighting every single race weekend and it's me against him with nobody else. That definitely makes it more difficult and there is more at stake. There is the opportunity of winning the championship this year. That is the ultimate goal in racing, so there is a lot at stake."