Lewis Hamilton has revealed that his relationship with Nico Rosberg is “really good” at the moment, much better than he expected it would be.
The Mercedes team-mates have known each other since they were 13 and competing in motor racing’s junior series.
But, entering the big league in Formula 1 and fighting for the ultimate prize, their rivalry has at times overtaken their friendship.
Last year’s championship concluded with the team-mates conceding that Christmas cards would not be exchanged while this season they have already had one on-track collision that resulted in a double DNF.
And although it appears as if this year’s battle for the World title will once again be an in-house tussle at Mercedes, Hamilton says his relationship with Rosberg has improved of late.
“It’s actually really good with Nico at the moment,” the Brit told the Daily Mail. “Really, really good. Surprisingly. I would definitely not have expected it to be where it is.
“I guess it is probably with age. He’s a family man. He’s got a kid. He has probably grown in that process and I have grown and come of age. The respect that we have always talked about is bigger than it has ever been.
“So now we generally just discuss things. Whether we’re unhappy about something or not, we discuss it face to face. If I have a problem, I knock on his door and ask if I can speak to him privately. We never address it publicly or in front of the team. So far, at least.
“We say straight up, “Hey man, I wasn’t cool with that”. And he does that to me as often as I do to him.
“The other day, I was swimming in my pool — the building we live in in Monaco, there is a shared communal pool — and I guess he saw me from his apartment and came down and sat on the diving board and when I finished a few laps, we sat and talked for 20 minutes or half an hour. In a relaxed state.”
The World Champion added: “We are going to have our ups and downs and there are going to be times where we hate each other and when we like each other but ultimately, when we have all retired and got kids and stuff, the respect is always going to be there.”