Mercedes happier with Hamilton/Bottas ‘dynamic’

Date published: January 22 2018

Toto Wolff concedes that a fierce rivalry is not what a team wants; instead he is happier with the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas who push one another but without controversy.

For four years Mercedes fielded Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg, a rivalry that at times turned nasty as the team-mates battled for the World title.

It was initially encouraged by Mercedes but as the number of on-track incidents increased so too did the heirarchy’s displeasure with their drivers.

It all, however, came to a premature end when Rosberg announced his shock retirement days after winning the 2016 World title.

After much consideration, Mercedes signed Valtteri Bottas as his replacement with Wolff conceding that the new team-mate partnership is a much better model than the previous tension.

“Nico put us in front of a fate accompli – there was not even a discussion [about retiring] – and it was difficult to find the right driver, but we gave it some time to decide and eventually we got just the right guy into the team,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told Motorsport.com.

“In the past I always believed that a very fierce rivalry between team-mates would be good for the team because they would be pushing each other.

“The lesson I learned is that is probably not true – you need two team-mates that perform at a high level that keep pushing each other in the car, but the rivalry shouldn’t spill over into controversy outside of the car.

“The mindset and the relationship between the two made us stronger, gave an open and honest environment, and fundamentally our very fast, difficult car we got it into a good place also because the two worked so well together.

“The dynamic between Valtteri and Lewis made us develop the car in a very efficient way and made us win the two championships, so not for one second do I regret where we are today.”