Lewis Hamilton praised teammate and Formula 1 championship rival Nico Rosberg for being a “real team player” as the Mercedes drivers celebrated the team’s constructors’ championship victory earlier this week.
Mercedes clinched its second consecutive world title last Sunday in Russia with four races remaining after Hamilton claimed his ninth victory of the 2015 season.
Retirement for Rosberg saw the German slip to third in the drivers’ standings, leaving him 73 points behind Hamilton with just 100 still on offer.
Speaking upon his return to the Mercedes base in Brackley, England, Hamilton paid tribute to the team following the constructors’ title win, expressing his pride in what it had achieved.
“When I joined the team back in 2013, coming to a new place and a new environment was really daunting and I didn’t know how it was going to play out,” Hamilton said.
“But I feel very much part of the family. When I heard we’d won the title I think I was yelling louder than anyone. Seeing how much effort goes into getting us to the front of the grid and having the success we’ve enjoyed together makes me so proud of each and every person involved.
“While we will all be getting straight back into the hard work, I hope everyone gets a chance to just take a step back for a moment and realise what we’ve achieved together.
“I know everyone at the factories will keep pushing to keep us at the front and myself and Nico will definitely be doing the same.”
Hamilton and Rosberg have enjoyed a turbulent spell as teammates amid Mercedes success, with the two coming to blows on track during last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.
With relations being far cooler in 2015, Hamilton praised Rosberg for being a team player and tipped the German to bounce back in the coming years.
“I just want to mention too what a great teammate Nico is,” Hamilton said. “He’s had a much tougher season so far than I have but has been a real team player throughout.
“I know he’ll be fighting back through the many years to come in which we’ll no doubt be competing hard against each other.”