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‘Stress gone’ between Mercedes drivers – Wolff

Britain Formula One – F1 – 2017 Mercedes Formula One Car Launch – Silverstone – 23/2/17 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Executive Director Toto Wolff and Valtteri Bottas pose during the launch Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic

Toto Wolff says he is very happy with how Mercedes is shaping up in the wake of the Nico Rosberg era.

After retired Rosberg’s successor Valtteri Bottas took pole from his teammate Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, boss Wolff said he received a notable text message.

“It was from Nico and it said ‘Great driver pairing!'” he exclaimed.

And Wolff agrees with that sentiment.

“It feels great, because we have a real opponent in Ferrari so success tastes even sweeter,” he said.

“Valtteri has now done his first pole, and I am very impressed with how well he has recovered from his setback in China. We can’t forget that this is his third weekend with us, and he is driving against the best driver in the world,” Wolff added.

“What makes me particularly happy is that there is a different dynamic between the two drivers than before. I would say all the stress is gone,” he said in Bahrain.

“After qualifying it was clear that Lewis was really happy for Valtteri. And with Sebastian Vettel there is also a mood of real sportsmanship.”

And as for Sunday’s race, Wolff said: “We remain on our guard.

“Red Bull showed good pace on Friday, as did Ferrari and us. So everything is possible.”

But following the Bahrain Grand Prix main race, pole sitter Valtteri Bottas reveals that he felt very dissatisfied to be asked to let his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to pass him during the race.

“You know, honestly, as a racing driver it is the worst thing you want to hear,” said Bottas.

“But that’s how it is and although I didn’t like it for my personal race, I am a team player and I understand.”

Mercedes radio messages suggested that, Bottas was given orders to let Hamilton pass him in the closing stages of an incident-filled race at least three times.

“For sure, I did it because there was potential that Lewis could challenge Sebastian,” said Bottas.

“In the end, it didn’t happen, but the team tried which I completely understand.

“Personally, it is tough for me, but that’s life. I just didn’t have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons for that.


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