Toto Wolff: 'Nico Rosberg-Lewis Hamilton relationship negative'

Nico Rosberg leaves the stage behind Lewis Hamilton during a press conference for the kickoff of the new Formula 1 season in Fellbach, south-western Germany, on March 11, 2016
© AFP
The intense relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had become "negative" for Mercedes, according to Toto Wolff.

The intense relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had become "negative" for Mercedes, according to Toto Wolff.

The team boss insists that he was never really angry at Rosberg - now replaced by Valtteri Bottas - for suddenly calling it quits after winning the 2016 title, despite having a firm contract for 2017 and beyond.

"Not at all," Wolff told Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

"I immediately tried to see the opportunity of the situation. On the one hand, Nico was a top performer who pushed himself and his teammate to top performances.

"On the other hand, the rivalry between him and Lewis had become so intense that it was a negative for the team.

"We always had to deal with the things that came up as a result of these animosities rather than taking care of performance issues, which was not good."

Although names like the fiery Fernando Alonso were mentioned to fill Rosberg's seat, Mercedes ultimate plumped for the quiet Finn Bottas.

"I'm expecting some quieter times," admitted Wolff.

"But if Valtteri is really good and the two of them are close to each other, it can be just as difficult, I am under no illusions. Even Bottas knows that he has little time to prove himself.

"We cannot afford to put someone in the car who is not fast enough and doesn't push Lewis. But his personality played a role. Valtteri is extremely quiet, not political, not manipulative. Pairing him with Lewis is the right combination."

The 2017 calendar kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Toto Wolff the Mercedes GP Executive Director looks on from the pitwall during day four of Formula One Winter Testing at the Circuito de Jerez on January 31, 2014
Read Next:
Wolff carries 'lucky injury' into 2017
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



TeamPoints
1Mercedes330
2Ferrari275
3Red Bull174
4Force India95
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso33
7Haas29
8Renault26
9Sauber5
10McLaren2
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari177
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes176
3Valtteri BottasMercedes154
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari98
6Max VerstappenRed Bull57
7Sergio PerezForce India52
8Esteban OconForce India43
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso29
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Pascal WehrleinSauber5
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0