Nico Rosberg responds after Lewis Hamilton labels Valtteri Bottas as ‘best teammate’
Hamilton described the Finn, who has joined Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 season, as a “gentleman” after a five-year partnership came to a close at the end of last season.
Rosberg had been Bottas’ predecessor as Hamilton’s partner on the grid, but endured an at-times fractured relationship with the seven-time world champion, who arrived at the German team in 2012.
Hamilton and Rosberg sparred both on and off the track, and have subsequently both revealed that they have maintained little contact since the latter’s retirement after securing the 2016 Drivers’ Championship.
The German praised Bottas for cultivating a “healthy” relationship with Hamilton that enabled Mercedes to win the Constructors’ Championship every year the pair were together.
“In the Constructors’ Championship, yes absolutely,” Rosberg told Sky Sports when asked if his successor deserved credit for his role in the team’s success.
“[Over] five years, it created a very good atmosphere, a very healthy atmosphere within the team. Which was different to my time.
“And that has given it a very good strength, so Mercedes is Constructors’ Champion [again], Valtteri did much better than [Sergio] Perez [Red Bull], so he deserves credit.”
Asked if Hamilton’s claim to have preferred Bottas had hurt Rosberg, the German joked: “No I do feel that as disrespect - I mean what did I do wrong?”
Hamilton will have to forge a new partnership with George Russell in 2022 after the 23-year-old replaced Bottas.
Russell arrives from Williams, which was also Bottas’ team before moving to Mercedes in 2017.