Lewis Hamilton will seemingly not seek to register a major impact on Mercedes' decision-making process regarding his new teammate. The dominant Silver Arrows are set to begin their search for a new driver ahead of the 2017 season after Nico Rosberg stunned Formula One and the wider sporting world by announcing his retirement just five days after winning a maiden world title in Abu Dhabi.

"I've never been a driver to ever request – I know a lot of the other drivers, Sebastian [Vettel], Fernando [Alonso], make sure that's in their contract," Hamilton was quoted as saying by Autosport at the FIA's Prize Giving press conference in Vienna. "I've just always asked to have equal rights.

"So as long as we are treated fairly then it doesn't matter who is sitting alongside you. We've got great team bosses and I'm sure they will choose the right people to represent them. I'm here to race, I still love racing, and now the focus is onto next year and I'm hoping for a better season."

Former teenage friends and karting teammates who rose up to Formula Three level together and made their F1 debuts a year apart, Hamilton and Rosberg's relationship has notably soured in the four seasons since they were reunited at Mercedes.

Their oft-hostile rivalry has been exacerbated by the team's rise to power and Rosberg had to make do with a runners-up spot in consecutive campaigns before finally getting the better of his new rival in 2016. The German's subsequent retirement came as a real bolt out of the blue to most, although Hamilton appears to be in the minority that were not shocked by the news.


"I'm probably one of the only people that it was not a surprise to," he said. "But that's because I've known him for a long time. This is the first time he's won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.

"But he's also got a family to focus on, having children, and Formula 1 takes so much of your time. We started out when we were 13 and we'd always talked about being champions. When I joined this team Nico was there, which was again something we talked about when we were kids. It's going to be very very strange, and it will be sad not to have him in the team next year. The sport will miss him, and I wish him all the best."