Nico Rosberg: Lewis Hamilton 'doesn't care' who replaces Formula 1 champion

Hamilton
Hamilton said he wanted Mercedes to pick someone who would work hard for the Mercedes team

Lewis Hamilton says he "doesn't care" who Mercedes pick as his team-mate next year following Nico Rosberg's decision to retire from Formula 1.

The German announced his retirement on Friday, five days after clinching his first world title ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton said: "It doesn't matter who they put alongside me. I'll race them. I'm here to race. The focus is on next year and hoping for a better season."

Hamilton added that Rosberg's decision was "not a surprise" to him.

"This is the first time he has won in 18 years [of racing together]," Hamilton said.

hamilton and rosberg
It all began so well for the pair, sharing the podium at the 2008 Australian GP, but as team-mates their relationship soured following several disagreements and collisions on track

"He has a family he wants to focus on and F1 takes so much from you.

"It is definitely going to be strange and it will be sad to not have him in the team next year."

Hamilton said he wanted Mercedes to pick someone who would work hard for the team.

"I've never needed a team-mate to be able to push me," he said. "The better the driver, the better it is for me when I finish ahead of them.

"You need someone with good values coming in and representing the team in a positive way, good work ethic and consistency, obviously, so we can those win constructors' championships.

"So, in terms of challenging for constructors' titles, which is obviously the team's first goal, we need to make sure we have someone equally as consistent as what we had before."

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Hamilton 'not surprised' Rosberg retired

But beyond that, he said, he would make no major requests of team boss Toto Wolff, but would offer his opinion if it was requested.

"If they want to talk to me, they can talk to me about it," Hamilton said.

"It should be someone who has to work well in the team. There will be stronger characters and less strong characters - and some drivers who take alternative routes in order to deal with competition.

"There will be good and bad ones out there, for sure - I would be more than happy to help with that analysis.

"I just always asked to have equal rights. As long we're treated fairly, it doesn't really matter who is alongside you.

"Of course, we've got great team bosses who I'm sure will choose the right people to be representing the brand."

He added: "I'm interested to see who would want to be my team-mate - and respect anyone that would want to."

The rivalry

Hamilton and Rosberg race wheel-to-wheel at Bahrain in 2014
Bahrain 2014: the beginning of a beautiful rivalry, where a thrilling battle ended with Rosberg screaming over team radio that Hamilton had cut across him
hamilton and rosberg
One-all? Hamilton is furious in the post-qualifying press conference after believing Rosberg deliberately prevented him from recording a faster lap time by going off the circuit
Nico Rosberg collides with Lewis Hamilton at the 2014 Belgian GP
Belgium 2014 - contact: "Nico's hit me," said Hamilton over team radio. Hamilton then retired with a puncture as Rosberg faced booing on the podium later - as well as a dressing down from team bosses.
Hamilton passes Rosberg at the 2015 US GP
Hamilton forced Rosberg wide after a daring overtake at the 2015 US GP, to claim his second title. Rosberg infamously threw a cap at the Brit in the drivers' room after the race
The two Mercedes drivers collided on the first lap of this year's Spanish GP
Spain: Their worst collision was in Spain this year, when they tangled on the first lap, but they also collided on the final lap in Austria
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
By the end of the 2016 season the two drivers rarely spoke or made eye contact at race weekends...

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