Wolff: Lewis versus Nico was negative for the team

[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”21″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_pro_slideshow” image_crop=”0″ image_pan=”1″ show_playback_controls=”1″ show_captions=”0″ caption_class=”caption_overlay_bottom” caption_height=”70″ aspect_ratio=”1.5″ width=”100″ width_unit=”%” transition=”fade” transition_speed=”1″ slideshow_speed=”5″ border_size=”0″ border_color=”#ffffff” ngg_triggers_display=”always” is_ecommerce_enabled=”0″ order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes that he is in for a calmer year managing teammates Lewis Hamilton and the team’s new driver Valtteri Bottas, and is relieved that the toxic atmosphere that prevailed in previous years – thanks to conflict between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – is now a thing of the past.

In an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung, Wolff said, “Nico was a top performer who pushed himself and his teammates to top performances. On the other hand, the rivalry between Lewis and Nico had become so intense that they were negative for the team.”

“We always had to deal with the drama that triggered this rivalry – instead of taking care of performance issues. That was not good.”

Wolff is also understanding of Rosberg’s sudden decision to depart the team last year after winning bis one and only title, “It is important to determine for yourself what drives you. This can also change. I can understand his situation.”

“Nico has no financial worries, a happy family status and he has achieved his goal of becoming the Formula 1 World Champion.”

“Besides, he certainly has years behind him, which were anything but easy. The pressure to compete against a Lewis Hamilton under the pressure of the public in a Mercedes – all these are factors must be understood.”

“I think, when he had to cope with this pressure in the last few races of the last season, he had come to the point where he said to himself: I do not want that anymore. I have a lot of respect for the fact that he walked away and said: Goodbye!”

Although Mercedes are said to have shopped around for some of the sport’s top guns, they finally settled for Bottas and for now the decision appears to be paying off, “We have a great atmosphere between [Lewis and Valtteri] in the team. Let’s see how long it lasts.

“I’m expecting some quieter times. But if Valtteri is really good and it gets closer between one another then it will be just as difficult, because I am under no illusions. Bottas himself knows that he has little time to prove himself.”

“We cannot afford to put someone in the car that is not fast enough and does not push Lewis enough, that’s one thing. In addition, Botta’s personality has played a role in our decision. Valtteri is extremely calm and quiet, non-political, not manipulative – bringing him together with Lewis is the right combination,” added Wolff who has presided over six Formula 1 title triumphs in three years.