Bottas/Hamilton title fight will not sour relationship - Mercedes
Mercedes insists it is not worried about tensions erupting between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton now that they are both firmly in the Formula 1 title hunt.
Bottas' drive to victory in the Russian Grand Prix, on a day when Hamilton struggled for pace, has lifted the Finn to within 10 points of his teammate in the drivers' standings.
And with the pair both focused on beating championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the intensity of a three-way title fight is almost certain to ramp up as the campaign develops.
But Mercedes chiefs do not sense there will be a repeat of the friction that become so public between Hamilton and previous teammate Nico Rosberg in recent years.
Niki Lauda, the team's non-executive chairman, said after the Russian GP: "No, they have not been hot so far. They have been nice because the Finn is not talking much.
"There is no extra aggravation which we had last year. Lewis is a professional and the other one too, so I don't see any problems because he [Bottas] won this race.
"They respect each other, this is the most important thing."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff predicted a 'ding-dong' battle between the pair, but felt the situation inside the team was very different to recent years.
"I think we could have a bit of a ding-dong in terms of going towards one and then the other," he said.
"Lewis had a really bad weekend and we just need to sort out the interaction between the car, the driver and the tyres.
"The relationship between the two of them is very intact. Lewis was one of the first ones to congratulate Valtteri on his first race victory and I think that shows the respect that they have towards each other.
"Nevertheless both are fierce competitors. They want to win races and fight for the championship, but I don't think it will affect the relationship and the dynamics in the team like it did in the last years with Nico and Lewis.
"That is a completely different relationship."
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