‘Strong’ Hamilton the ideal team-mate - Rosberg

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Nico Rosberg says he would pick Lewis Hamilton if given the opportunity to select his ideal Mercedes team-mate, despite losing out to the Briton twice in the Drivers’ championship.

Given their squad’s dominance in the latest turbo era, the pair has been fighting for the title pretty much on their own over the past two years, which resulted in a series of flashpoints that has strained their long-standing relationship.

This has prompted Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff to issue repeated warnings that the team might change its line-up should Hamilton and Rosberg fail to appease tensions. The German’s current contract expires at the end of 2016, while the triple world champion signed a three-year extension last May.

Yet, when asked by Germany’s TZ who he would like to partner in the future, Rosberg replied:

“Lewis. He is strong and our success shows the team is right.

“We are here to win races for Mercedes, within the conditions laid out by the team. We push and emulate each other, which can lead to tensions. But the team benefits the most from this situation.”

Hamilton comprehensively outshone Rosberg for the most part of 2015, but the ex-Williams racer fought back over the final races to enter the off-season on the back of six pole positions in a row and three consecutive wins.

While eager to extend this momentum into the upcoming campaign, Rosberg refutes the theory according to which he will enter 2016 as a much different driver.

“Basically no. But there will be a more developed Rosberg: one who has learned from last year and wants to make the most of the final races, and this right off the bat. For me, the new season started long ago.”

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