- Toto Wolff claimed duo’s ongoing feud was Mercedes’ biggest weakness
- But Lewis Hamilton has played down claims it has a detrimental effect
- Wolff claimed he would consider dropping one of them if he needed to
- British driver Hamilton insists he wants to end his career with Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Toto Wolff’s claim that his strained relationship with Nico Rosberg is having a detrimental effect on Mercedes.
Wolff, Hamilton’s boss, described the simmering tension between his two drivers as Mercedes’ ‘biggest weakness’ and also claimed he would consider dropping one of them should their relationship continue to sour.
But in response to Wolff’s comments, Hamilton, who claimed his third Formula One world championship in October – his second in succession with Mercedes – said: ‘It is always blown so much out out of proportion. We have had 16 one-two finishes so our relationship is not really causing any problems.
Lewis Hamilton hit back at claims relationship with Nico Rosberg is having detrimental effect on Mercedes
Hamilton claimed his third F1 world championship in October – his second in succession with Mercedes
‘I think we have both done a great job. It is not like he has been distracted and not finished high up, or vice-versa, so I think ultimately it is easy for people to take things for granted.
‘We have not caused any problems and the energy within the team is as high as it is ever going to be and that is because we do what we do how we do it.
‘We are never going to be best friends, but somehow we make it work There are moments of tension but that is the same in any kind of sport I would imagine.’
Hamilton’s relationship with Rosberg appears at an all-time low following two years in which they have gone toe-to-toe for the drivers’ championship.
Toto Wolff described the simmering tension between his two drivers as Mercedes’ ‘biggest weakness’
Hamilton said his team ‘have felt the need to be extra warm’ to Rosberg following a fall out in Austin, America
Hamilton, who saw off Rosberg’s title challenge with three races to spare, was accused of ‘extremely aggressive driving’ by his team-mate after the pair banged wheels in Austin. Rosberg then threw a cap at his team-mate ahead of the podium celebrations.
Hamilton has subsequently said his team ‘have felt the need to be extra warm’ to Rosberg, winner of the next three races, following that fall-out, a statement the German described as an ‘excuse’ for the Briton’s failure to win at the following race in Mexico.
In an interview with Motorsport.com, Wolff said: ‘Going forward, we will consider if it is the best set-up for the team. Personality and character within the team is a crucial ingredient for the team’s success.
Hamilton, who has said he wants to end his career with Mercedes, signed a new three-year deal in May
‘If we feel that it is not aligned with the general consensus, spirit and philosophy within the team, we might consider that when we take a decision in terms of the driver line-up going forward.’
Hamilton, who has said he wants to end his career with Mercedes, signed a new three-year deal in May. Rosberg’s current contract expires at the end of 2016 but the German has no desire to leave.
Regarding next season, Hamilton, who was speaking to the BBC, added: ‘You never know what is going to happen, but I am going to be working hard, working on my fitness, and I have every plan to come back strong.’
Source: Daily Mail