Lewis Hamilton says discussions have been held within Mercedes to prevent a repeat scenario of his relationship with Nico Rosberg between himself and Valtteri Bottas ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Rosberg and Hamilton fought for three consecutive drivers’ championships from 2014-16, but their relationship deteriorated in the final year, with a collision between the pair that caused both to retire in Barcelona. Team principal Toto Wolff admitted after Bottas won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he saw warning signs and had solutions in mind in order to avoid a repeat between his current drivers, and Hamilton says the respect between himself and Bottas is different to his relationship with Rosberg.
“There are things that happen in the background that you won’t know about and I don’t really feel this is the place to talk about it, but there are things that happen that you just don’t know,” Hamilton said. “So when (Wolff) mentions glimpses of that it’s because he has seen a glimpse of it, but what’s really important is that we will pull together as a team — we have discussed it and hopefully rectified it so that won’t spring up again.
“What happened before was an individual continued to go down that route and that’s not what we have here. We have a really great energy in the team and we have an agreed set of rules so that we do finish the races one-two and we play supporting roles either way.
“I truly believe it is the best pairing in terms of that respect and how we deliver each weekend than any other team has ever had or currently has. So to be honest, yes it’s going to be close and tight between us and tension will be there, because tension is always there when you want to beat someone else, but the fundamental key is that we have to be a team player.
“We are not here for ourselves — although of course we want to win the championship individually, but what we are paid to do is win for the team and deliver for the team. As long as we remember that, we shouldn’t have problems.”
Hamilton would not elaborate on what had been discussed, but says his relationship with Bottas will remain good, as he currently trails his teammate by one point in the drivers’ standings.
“Nope, it’s all internal and not for the public domain. But as I said, everything is great within the team and the respect is still there — we will continue to push on and we won’t have any problems. Don’t expect what you have seen in the past.”