SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Nico Rosberg accused Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton of selfishly compromising his race as old tensions between the Mercedes team mates flared up at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

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Hamilton led from start to finish, with Rosberg finishing second, but there more recriminations than celebrations afterwards.

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After accusing Hamilton in a news conference of “just thinking about yourself” as he controlled the pace, Rosberg said his afternoon had been compromised by his team mate driving too slowly.

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“Did Lewis do it on purpose or not? I don’t know. I can’t answer that,” the German fumed to television reporters afterwards. “But he said in the press conference he was just thinking about himself.

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“That’s an interesting indication, an interesting statement.”

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Hamilton, who can smile after winning two of the three races this season to open up a 13 point lead, shrugged off the criticism.

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“It’s not my job to look after Nico’s race,” said the Briton.

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“My job’s to manage the car and bring the car home as healthy and as fast as possible –- and that’s what I did.”

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The spat revived memories of last year’s flashpoints between the two, particularly in Belgium and Monaco, when the team had to intervene.

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Hamilton had started on pole on Sunday with Rosberg out qualified and with the Ferrari drivers looking menacing behind.

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Rosberg then complained over the radio about Hamilton not going fast enough and said the Briton had left him vulnerable to being passed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished third.

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Hamilton, who has beaten Rosberg in nine of their last 10 races, played down the risk.

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“I’m not quite sure how I compromised his (race)…he was 4.4, 4.5 seconds behind so he was never close,” he said. “If Nico wanted to get by he could have tried but he didn’t.”

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Mercedes bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda said the latest spat would be managed internally, but saw little fault in what Hamilton had done.

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“This is a rivalry and it was always a rivalry and it’s going to be very intense in the future,” said Wolff. “You need to expect this kind of discussion and controversy.

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“But today I think there weren’t many reasons to say that mistakes were done.”

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Lauda saw little risk of the situation escalating.

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“They sit down, they have a briefing, they cool down and I think it will be stopped quickly,” said the triple world champion.

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