Outgoing world champion Nico Rosberg says he is open to rekindling his old friendship with Lewis Hamilton. As teammates at Mercedes until last year, the pair shared a particularly acrimonious relationship, even though they had been childhood best friends.
"Hamilton and Bottas are not friends," F1 legend Niki Lauda told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But there is no hate, as there was between Lewis and Nico. It was bad for the team but not for them, because it pushed them to go faster," the Mercedes team chairman added.
Now, with Rosberg at the end of his first year of retirement, the German said he would be happy to be friends with Hamilton again. "We were very good friends in the past, but it can happen again in the future," he told the German broadcaster ZDF. "We're not rivals anymore, I'm completely out of it, so I don't see why we could not get along well after some time," Rosberg added.
However, Rosberg admits that he hasn't even had a phone call with Hamilton in 2017, even though they are apartment neighbours in Monaco. "We're not at that point yet," the 32-year-old admitted.
But that doesn't mean he doesn't hail the new quadruple world champion Hamilton's driving in 2017, and accept his unique personality and controversial lifestyle choices. "He does it his way and I have a lot of respect for that, it's a great quality," Rosberg said. "Lots of people don't like what he does and how he is, which is a matter of opinion, but I think it's cool that he goes his own way." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing