Hamilton sees no repeat of Rosberg fall-out with Bottas

Lewis Hamilton said that he did not expect to see any kind of degeneration of his relationship with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the podium of Azerbaijan Grand Prix.   -  AFP Photo

Lewis Hamilton said that respect and a well-established team ethic will prevent any trouble between him and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas this year if they are locked in a title duel.

The defending five-time champion told reporters on Thursday that he did not expect to see any kind of degeneration of his relationship with the Finn who, after four races, leads him by a point in the drivers' standings.

The pair have two wins apiece in Mercedes' stunning and unprecedented run of four straight season-opening one-twos and their rivalry has raised the spectre of the acrimony of 2016 when Nico Rosberg ignored team focus to beat Hamilton to take the title.

“What happened before (was that) an individual continued to go down that route, but that's not what we have here. We have a really great energy in the team, the respect is there, we have agreed rules set out so that we do finish the races one-two and we play supporting roles either way.

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“So, I truly believe it's the best pairing in terms of that respect, in terms of how we deliver each weekend more than any other team has ever had or currently has.

“And, yes, it's going to be close and tight between us and with tensions, but that's just there because there's always tension 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. 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 explained also that there were “things that happened in the background that you won't know about. I don't really feel this is the place to talk about it, but there's things that happen that you just don't know.

“So when (team boss) Toto (Wolff) mentions glimpses of that, he has seen a glimpse of it, but what's really important is that we pull together as a team. We have discussed it and hopefully rectified it so that it won't spring up again.”

Hamilton said also that he had no immediate intention of revealing how his relationship with Rosberg soured so badly in 2016.

“Probably not. Maybe one day when I write a book, probably one day when I retire, I'll be able to talk about it, but I don't really need to talk much about it now.

“I just let my results do the talking so that's what I focus on.”