Published On: Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

Lewis Hamilton relationship with Valtteri Bottas ‘totally different’ from Nico Rosberg

Hamilton and Rosberg were childhood friends in go-karting but their relationship soured over the course of three years battling for the F1 World Drivers’ Championship at Mercedes.

Rosberg retired suddenly last year after finally securing his maiden title and the team brought in Bottas from Williams, promising to give both drivers equal treatment.

Hamilton is understood to have felt undermined by the team when he was battling with Rosberg and worries surfaced among fans and pundits that a similar situation might arise with the new driver.

But team boss Wolff, who has stepped down from a role in Bottas’ management team to avoid a conflict of interests, has been pleasantly surprised by the harmony between the pair.

“Valtteri for me is performing up to our expectations,” Wolff said.

“When we decided to take him we knew about his qualities.

“So on track he has met our expectations and it’s getting better every race, and he progresses every race, which is very nice to see.

“But where he has exceeded our expectations, and both of them have actually, is how they work together – they get on with each other, and respect each other, on track and even more off track. It’s very straightforward.

“It came to a point in Silverstone when Lewis said: ‘I’m going to pull him along with me.’

“It’s just an underlying respect for the other individual and the other race driver.”

The lack of a No 1 driver in the team looked like it could come to a head at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes used team orders to put Hamilton ahead of Bottas on track ago see if the Brit could catch Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in second.

But he could not bridge the gap and Mercedes left it until the last lap to reverse the positions and give Bottas back third place.

Hamilton was happy to do so because “it was the right thing to do” and the radio messages around the incident were in stark contrast to the end of the 2017 season, when he directly disobeyed team orders by backing Rosberg up in an effort to win the title.

“The personal relationship between Valtteri and Lewis is totally different than what it was between Nico and Lewis,” Wolff added.

“The working relationship is just in a totally different league, which carries over into the dynamics within the team, because everybody is affected in a positive or negative way.”

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