Sepang: Nico Rosberg made light of claims he blocked Lewis Hamilton in Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday when he posed as a journalist and questioned his team-mate about the incident.
Speculation was rife that Rosberg, in an echo of Monaco last year, deliberately impeded his rival in Q3 when Hamilton aborted a flying lap as he drew up behind the German.
As Hamilton spoke to reporters, Rosberg appeared and, joking that he was a journalist, asked what the Briton thought about suggestions that he was blocked by his team-mate.
"I think you should probably ask him," responded Hamilton drily.
As Hamilton finished on pole, the incident was of little consequence but it evoked memories of last year`s clashes as the two Mercedes drivers vied for the title.
In Monaco, Rosberg claimed pole position ahead of Hamilton after blocking his team-mate on a flying lap, and in Belgium he crashed into his rival and was later punished.
Hamilton played down Saturday`s skirmish after a rain-interrupted qualifying session, and Rosberg was at pains to protest his innocence.
"He bailed out (of the flying lap) very well before coming up on me," insisted the German, before admitting that he couldn`t prove his claim.
"I don`t have an answer right now to make that a fact for you, but I`ll have to think about something later on," he said.
Rosberg said he was annoyed at himself for a poor qualifying session when he finished third behind championship leader Hamilton and Ferrari`s Sebastian Vettel.
It threatens to leave Rosberg further adrift of Hamilton, who won their arm-wrestle for the title last year and dominated this month`s season-opener in Australia.
But Rosberg said he hoped to pounce on Vettel at the very start of Sunday`s race and be among the front two after the first corner.
"An important one will be the start and I`ll try to get it done there. I`m confident with my starts," he said.