Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he wants a balance between disruption and calmness from his two Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to produce a winning combination but isn’t worried about a similar situation to Hamilton’s relationship with Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes has enjoyed a friendly rivalry in its garage with Hamilton and new recruit Bottas after the Finnish driver was called up as a late replacement for the retiring Rosberg last winter. Despite Bottas suffering a mid-season dip in form, team boss Wolff was pleased with the overall performance from both of his drivers as Mercedes wrapped up a fourth consecutive F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ championship. Hamilton sealed a fourth F1 drivers’ crown while Bottas narrowly missed out on a clean sweep for the German manufacturer by finishing third behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Wolff has relished the inter-team rivalry between his drivers but accepts a blend of confrontation and positive mindset is needed to maintain its winning mentality. When Wolff was quizzed about fearing a repeat of the Hamilton and Rosberg bitter opposition he is confident the pair can maintain a rivalry which is constructive to the team.

“I don’t think we need to avoid a stressful situation,” Wolff said. “We need to acknowledge if two team-mates are fighting for race wins and a championship, that this will be a rivalry. We need to acknowledge that this is the case.

“We are not trying to build a new family here, we need to be the most effective racing team and an effective racing team needs stress needs disruption as much as it needs calmness and a positive attitude and mindset. But like everything in life you need to find a mix of both, probably the recipe to success.”

Wolff is eager to see Bottas improve on his performances in 2018 to provide an F1 title challenge alongside Hamilton which could lead to the Finnish driver landing a long-term Mercedes contract. The F1 driver market is predicted to open up from the end of the next season with only Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel currently secured on deals beyond next year at Red Bull and Ferrari respectively.

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