May 7 (GMM) Seven years into his F1 career, Lewis Hamilton thinks he is now mature enough to handle any teammate.
Before switching to Mercedes for 2013, the long-time former McLaren driver expressed interest in joining Red Bull, whose Sebastian Vettel has won the world championship three times on the trot.
But back in 2007, Briton Hamilton fell out spectacularly with his then teammate Fernando Alonso.
Dr Helmut Marko, now grappling with the disintegrating relationship between Vettel and Mark Webber, said it’s simply a problem when two “alpha dogs” clash.
But Hamilton told the Daily Mail: “Now I’m older, I’m sure we would have a different relationship.”
Referring to himself and Spaniard Alonso, he added: “There would still be intense moments because we are both quick, so we would be very close to each other, but we’ve both matured a lot.
“I think I’m much better at nurturing relationships between teammates now. It depends on the drivers.
“Put Sebastian with Fernando Alonso and the team would be in trouble straight away, the chemistry would just … (Hamilton whistles).
“You know, I even think I could drive with Sebastian,” Hamilton mused. “I just wouldn’t turn the engine down.”
No longer under the control of McLaren supremo Ron Dennis or his father Anthony, Hamilton also says he has learned to cope with criticism.
A good example is the last few months, when Sir Jackie Stewart initially slammed Hamilton’s move to Mercedes, and then tipped the 28-year-old as a title favourite for 2013.
“I think I’ve definitely developed a thicker skin,” said Hamilton.
“At the start, it’s easier to get stung. I’m more consistent now because my mental strength has improved. So when Jackie Stewart talks about me, I just laugh it off.
“Some people are nosey, or they’ve nothing better to do. They’re entitled to their opinions, but Jackie talks a lot.”