Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is hoping Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas can get along
Nico Rosberg ended a tempestuous four seasons alongside Lewis Hamilton by retiring five days after beating his Mercedes team-mate to the world title.
His team had to scramble to find a replacement and eventually convinced Valtteri Bottas to complete a switch from Williams last month.
And Wolff, speaking at the launch of the new Mercedes car for 2017, believes that freedom from the difficulties with Rosberg has left Hamilton reinvigorated.
Mercedes F1 2017 launch: World Champions officially unveil new W08 car
Thu, February 23, 2017
Mercedes have officially unveiled their new W08 car during a launch presentation at Silverstone ahead of the 2017 F1 season
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Mercedes have officially unveiled their 2017 W08 car
“He has closed the chapter of last year it seems and his work with the team has been exceptional,” Wolff said.
“He seems to be in a very good place.
“I think it’s the opportunity of having a new team-mate.
“Some of the dynamics change.
“My impression is a positive one.
“Lewis has been with the team now four years.
Valtteri Bottas signed a one-year deal with Mercedes in January
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are expected to be some of the grid's leading drivers in 2017
“The longer you work with them, the better you get to know each other and the way I’ve seen him in the last few weeks, he’s been in a great mood and great spirits.”
Hamilton is chasing a fourth World Drivers’ Championship but refused to set that as his goal for 2017 without have driven the car in anger.
But the Brit did accept that he was in a better place mentally to deal with the challenge of Bottas, who has not been shy about his desire to push Hamilton to the limit.
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“I’m feeling in a positive place with the team – we talked about a lot of stuff over the winter, I was able to get some things off my chest and now we are communicating better than ever and continuing to grow together,” Hamilton said.
“I’m the best equipped I ever have been to work with my team-mate and manage the relationship with my experience and maturity.”
However, Hamilton did also admit that since Bottas signed for the team last month, the pair have not had much interaction.
"I don't know him that well," Hamilton added.
"Before he signed, we'd bumped into each other round the paddock and had little chats, but that's been it really.
"When I saw him in the factory it was only the third time I'd really seen him."