Lewis Hamilton has given his insight on the atmosphere of Mercedes after Nico Rosberg retired from the sport. The German decided to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season after winning his first world championship.
Hamilton and Rosberg were involved in a title battle each year from 2014 to 2016. The rivalry between the two was tense, made worse by a number of on-track collisions during the 2016 season. Now that Rosberg has left, Hamilton admits that the atmosphere is much more positive.
"It has not made things easier for me but it has made the environment a better place to work in," he said. "When you remove a negative and then replace it with a positive — it is like having a circuit-board and you have a bad fuse, that’s the whole frikkin unit gone.
"When you replace that fuse, the whole thing works again. I am still pushing myself to new limits. He could be here and I’d still be driving like this and he knows it. It’s like when you have been in an unhealthy relationship. You only stay in it because you love that person.
"It is not until that relationship ends and you get further down the line you realise, ‘S***, that relationship was not good for me’. We are now positive as a team. The hurricane that was built within this team is now blowing towards Ferrari."
Hamilton claimed his 72nd career pole position on Sunday and now holds the outright record for the most front row starts in F1. Reflecting on his qualifying efforts, Hamilton said the team was the reasoning behind the rapid lap time.
"The team have done an exceptional job all weekend to filter the data that we have gathered and put the car in the right place. This is such a fantastic circuit - it's really challenging, you're constantly dancing with the car. I'm really happy to be on pole, but we know we're often strong through practice and qualifying and have found the races tougher this year.
"I'm looking forward to a nice race tomorrow with Sebastian and Valtteri. This is a track where you can follow and overtake. I remember the race in 2012 when I passed Sebastian for the win - I hope he's not that close tomorrow, but let's see."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing