Lewis Hamilton has expanded on why Valtteri Bottas has been his best team-mate in Formula 1 – it is all down to communication.
The Mercedes duo are in their fifth and final year together as colleagues, with Bottas moving on at the end of the season to Alfa Romeo in order to make way for George Russell.
Since entering F1 in 2007, Hamilton has had quite a variety of personalities and nationalities among his five team-mates at McLaren and Mercedes – and vastly different relationships also, with Bottas at the opposite end of that spectrum to his predecessor, Nico Rosberg.
But on a personal level, with both now well into their 30s, it looks as though Hamilton and Bottas will potentially end their work alongside each other on particularly friendly terms.
Asked during an interview with Sky Italia which driver he felt he had encountered the biggest rivalry with, Hamilton answered with a discussion about his team-mates.
“Honestly, it depends on the moment of my life I was in,” said the 36-year-old Briton.
“When I was just a kid I met [Fernando] Alonso. I was enthusiastic and talented but I didn’t know how to handle everything.
“Then I found myself in different positions with [Heikki] Kovalainen, with Jenson [Button] and with Nico. I learned different things from each of them.
“Each one was a challenge. You can never ignore your team-mate because you will learn from him or vice versa. You can make mistakes. I wouldn’t change anything about my journey alongside them, for better or for worse.
“I recently commented about my current team-mate and said he was the best team-mate, but you have to see what that definition means.
“We are in a sport where we try to win two different championships – we both try to win the Drivers’ title, but our job is to win the Constructors’ title too, so we have to work together. For the first time, I had a team-mate with whom I really communicated.
“You know, ‘I felt this…’, ‘I had this feeling’. Without hiding anything from each other, trying to improve each other, helping each other to be our best version.
“It had never happened with other drivers before. It’s something unique.
“And as a human being it’s fantastic. Once we get off the track we talk like gentlemen. No tricks.”
Hamilton v Verstappen: Who wins the title?
Hamilton v Verstappen: Who is winning the title?
After the sensational Russian GP, who has the momentum going forward to the next weekend? Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen?