If the question is, are our drivers working better together than the previous combination at Mercedes? Then the answer is yes and that can clearly be seen from fans at home. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas certainly do seem to get along with each other much better than Nico Rosberg and Lewis did the previous three seasons.
Team boss Toto Wolff reckons they are really setting a new precedent for how teammates can work together.
“Valtteri for me is performing up to our expectations. When we decided to take him we knew about his qualities,” said Wolff.
“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.
“Have you seen that in the past in a team, where the two guys got on like this?
Actually, I have seen teammates get along like this and help each other on track. The first that comes to mind is Schumacher and Barrichello in the early years before Rubens became frustrated or even Schumacher and Massa. I would argue that Vettel and Raikkonen are getting along pretty well too.
Sir Jackie Stewart and Cervert also come to mind as a duo who worked very well together. In fact, you could probably find several teammates who worked well together in Formula 1.
If Toto means that he’s happy his team has gained some harmony with this driver pairing over the previous iteration, then the point is well taken because I think that’s true. The real test, as with any pairing, is how they will react if the other driver starts winning.
If Bottas starts winning and is in the hunt for the title over Lewis, it will provide a ripe situation for fissures to show in their relationship. Some of it may depend on how Lewis views the situation and how he feels he’s been delt with and the same could be said of Valtteri.
Lewis was not the happiest of drivers when paired with Nico and there was a long history of competitiveness between them from the karting days. He has no history with Valtteri so hopefully they will continue to support each other and keep the harmony within the team.
Hat Tip: Autosport