In a recent interview with British broadcaster Channel 4, Lewis Hamilton has told Mercedes AMG he is open to having any driver as a teammate next season. His one caveat, he doesn’t want someone who could have “a poisonous effect” on the team. This seems like an odd choice of words. Obviously any driver doesn’t want a new teammate to have a detrimental effect on their team. So that begs the question, why come out and directly say it? Personally, this is a not-so-indirect way of slamming his former teammates.
“It’s important who we have in the second car. It’s important for the team’s morale,” Hamilton said. “We’ve seen in other teams at times where it can be a poisonous effect on a team, the arch-rivalry between drivers. For sure, that’s really important, because I’m really happy here. I love being where I am and while, OK, there have been some interesting scenarios, we generally always pull through.”
“Interesting scenarios” Clearly he is referencing his recent time with Nico. It doesn’t take a doctorate in psychology to tell Lewis and Nico Rosberg weren’t exactly BFFs. It is clear from this interview that Lewis is not thrilled with the idea of recreating that scenario. Nor does Lewis want a repeat of his time with Fernando Alonso and Mclaren in 2007.
“I’ve had experience of certain divisions in the past which I would strongly advise not to have that scenario in a team. But what I meant is I will drive against any single driver you want. Ultimately, when they decide – which is their decision – they can put any driver in. Bring Fernando, bring whoever you really want. I drove against Fernando in my first year and I beat him, so that’s not a worry for me. I’m happy to drive against any of them, but in terms of what’s best for the team, probably not the best idea.”
Anyone who follows F1 will tell you that the 2007 McLaren teammates did not like each other. It these comments illustrate that Lewis still hasn’t gotten over the events of 2007. Lewis was a hot up-and-comer, While Fernando was a world champ. Alonso took exception to the fact that he wasn’t given lead driver status even though Lewis routinely out performed him. In the end the two only lasted 1 season together as Fernando left for Ferrari the following season.
“So we’ve got to make sure that whoever we bring is at least as good as what we had before, if not better, in terms of creating that energy.”
By energy, Lewis means keeping the team morale up. Infighting between drivers on a team has a way of draining the team as a whole. Having to repeatedly answer questions about the drivers possibly feuding wears even the thickest skinned individual down. It is obvious that teams do not want this. Lewis has taken this opportunity to remind us, at least from his point of view that his time with Alonso and Rosberg, while successful, were not good situations. Hamilton believes the blame lies with them for the contentious relationships and he wants no part of history repeating itself with his new teammate.