Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport were forced into a different way of thinking about how team-mates should interact when Valtteri Bottas came in to replace Nico Rosberg alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2018, according to Toto Wolff.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport admitted to believing that team-mates should have a ‘fierce’ rivalry, but when Rosberg was in the team it often became volatile, and following his departure, the team took their time to find a suitable replacement before opting for Bottas.
The relationship between the Finn and Hamilton has been far less stressful for everyone, and the rivalry has been restricted to the track, and Wolff has no regrets in bringing Bottas in.
“Nico put us in front of a fait accompli – there was not even a discussion – and it was difficult to find the right driver, but we gave it some time to decide and eventually we got just the right guy into the team,” said Wolff to Motorsport.com.
“In the past I always believed that a very fierce rivalry between team-mates would be good for the team because they would be pushing each other.
“I think the lesson I learned is that is probably not true – I think you need two team- mates that perform at a high level that keep pushing each other in the car, but the rivalry shouldn’t spill over into controversy outside of the car.
“The mindset and the relationship between the two made us stronger, gave an open and honest environment, and fundamentally our very fast, difficult car we got it into a good place also because the two worked so well together.
“The dynamic between Valtteri and Lewis made us develop the car in a very efficient way and made us win the two championships, so not for one second do I regret where we are today.”