Lewis Hamilton has attempted to defuse a simmering feud with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by insisting the pair remain friends.

The duo have known each other since their karting days but the relationship has been in decline since they became rivals within the same team.

Things appeared to come to a head at Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix when Hamilton failed to acknowledge Rosberg on the podium after the latter's victory, following an incident in qualifying when the German's driving error brought out the yellow flags which thwarted his team-mate's bid to claim pole position.

Mercedes non-executive chairman and three-time champion Niki Lauda said Hamilton's behaviour reflected badly on the brand and the Englishman seems to have tried to smooth things over.

"We've been friends a long time & as friends we have our ups & downs. Today we spoke & we're cool, still friends," Hamilton wrote on Twitter, adding a picture of himself and Rosberg together as youngsters.

Earlier this week Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff downplayed claims the rivalry between the pair is starting to resemble that of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, bitter enemies in the late 1980s.

"We have seen a lot of talk about their relationship, but that's not the key thing for a successful campaign," Wolff told the team website.

"There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico.

"But the situation here is very different. It's an intense relationship but this intensity is normal."