Mercedes’ relationship with Hamilton ‘strengthened’ by struggles

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff believes that the German marque’s relationship with Lewis Hamilton has been strengthened by the struggles they have shared in recent weeks.

Hamilton scored his first win of the 2016 Formula 1 season in Monaco last weekend, bouncing back from a string of reliability issues in the opening six races of the year.

Mercedes faced accusations of sabotage on Hamilton’s car as a result of his issues, while the three-time world champion was evidently downbeat about the recurring problems.

Speaking to the official F1 website after the Monaco Grand Prix, Wolff said that in spite of the struggles Mercedes and Hamilton have faced in recent weeks, he believes their relationship is only stronger as a result.

“The last couple of weeks have strengthened Lewis and strengthened our relationship,” Wolff said.

“If you really go through bad times together it gives the relationship more strength. Of course we had many discussions and difficult moments – and this win was just what the doctor ordered.

“He needed that win. Even if it was a bit of a sad afternoon for Nico [Rosberg], we are super happy that we have pulled off that win after such a terrible streak of bad luck.”

Rosberg was told by the team to let Hamilton pass when running second and ultimately faded to finish seventh, causing his championship lead to almost be halved.

“For Nico it was a messy day anyway – not only having to let his team mate pass, but also had a scrappy pit stop and on top a car that didn’t have the right pace,” Wolff said.

“All the bad luck was with him today. That is why he only finished seventh. So we had a happy winner today – and an unfortunate seventh. That is what you probably would call mixed emotions.

“But in two weeks’ time things might just be the other way around again.”