Lewis Hamilton willing to take on anyone as Mercedes teammate

BY Adam Cooper • December 15, 2016

Lewis Hamilton says he’s willing to take on any top driver as his teammate at Mercedes in 2017 – but the World Champion has cautioned that the chosen combination has to work for the best interests of the team.

Hamilton made it clear that hiring a star name like Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who may yet figure in Toto Wolff’s plans for 2018 and beyond if not for 2017, would not necessarily be a good idea.

He was keen to dispel any suggestions that he didn’t care about the identity of his teammate.

“It’s important who we have in the second car,” he said in an interview with the UK’s Channel 4. “It’s important for the team’s morale. We’ve seen in other teams and times [that] it can be a poisonous effect on a team, the arch rivalry between drivers.

“For sure I’m really happy here, I love being where I am, and whilst OK there’s been some interesting scenarios, we generally always pull through.

“So we’ve got to make sure that whatever we bring is at least as good as what we had, if not better, in terms of creating that energy. I’ve had experiences and divisions in the past which I would strongly advise not in a team, to have that scenario.

“But what I meant is I’ll drive against every single drive you wanna... Ultimately when they decide, which is their decision, they can put any driver. Bring Fernando, bring Sebastian, bring whoever you really want. I drove against Fernando in my first year and 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.”

Hamilton confirmed that the team has to discuss its plans with him before making a choice.

“Contractually what they have to do basically once they have dwindled it down to five drivers, or whatever it is, the shortlist, contractually they have to discuss with me. But I don’t have a say who it is.”

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