Lewis Hamilton has revealed that the relationship between himself and Nico Rosberg is now as good as it has ever been, as he talks about a new level of respect between them.
Although the Mercedes team-mates have had their clashes over recent years,Hamilton says that tensions have fallen away over the last few months – and that they now have a much better understanding of each other.
“It’s actually really good with Nico at the moment,’ said Hamilton in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. ‘Really, really good. Surprisingly.
“I would definitely not have expected it to be where it is. I guess it is probably with age.
"He’s a family man. He’s got a kid. He has probably grown in that process and I have grown and come of age. The respect that we have always talked about is bigger than it has ever been.
‘So now we generally just discuss things. Whether we’re unhappy about something or not, we discuss it face to face. If I have a problem, I knock on his door and ask if I can speak to him privately. We never address it publicly or in front of the team. So far, at least.
“We say straight up, “Hey man, I wasn’t cool with that”. And he does that to me as often as I do to him."
Hamilton said that an example of where things are different is a chat they had recently at home in Monaco.
"The other day, I was swimming in my pool — the building we live in in Monaco, there is a shared communal pool — and I guess he saw me from his apartment and came down and sat on the diving board and when I finished a few laps, we sat and talked for 20 minutes or half an hour. In a relaxed state.
“We are going to have our ups and downs and there are going to be times where we hate each other and when we like each other, but ultimately, when we have all retired and got kids and stuff, the respect will always be there."
Hamilton also opened up on his belief that F1 must maintain a danger element to be attractive – and claims that too safe tracks have made it easier for youngsters like Max Verstappen to come in and be successful.
“I do feel like I’m a little bit more old-school," he said. "Safety is something we have to work on and F1 has got to a safe place but in Baku last week they wanted to open up the pit lane entry and make it easier.
"They were saying, “it’s so fast and dangerous” and I was thinking, “it’s not really dangerous at all”. It was tricky to navigate, but that's how it should be.
"I just miss those old tracks where you couldn’t run past the white line and off over the kerb, over the astroturf, on to the grass and come back on easily.
"Now you can drive beyond the edge of the track and come back on. That’s why it’s easier for younger drivers to come in. Because that fear factor of going beyond that white line has shifted to the wall in many places.
"That is why a kid like Max Verstappen can come in and go off and come back on. It’s just easier.”