Lewis Hamilton is wary of Mercedes hiring someone he will find difficult to get along with, warning his team that there should be due consideration given before the driver for the next Formula One season is announced. Mercedes are in need of a new driver after Nico Rosberg announced his retirement.
Rosberg's announcement a few days after he won his maiden F1 title, which caught most off guard, has left Mercedes searching for a driver they feel will not only push teammate Hamilton, but also give the Brit a run for his money for the title, much like the German did.
Hamilton has had his fair share of acrimonious teammates, and the 31-year-old wants Mercedes to consult with him before a new man is fixed.
The likes of Fernando Alonso, who Hamilton drove with at McLaren, and Sebastian Vettel have been linked, but Valtteri Bottas of Williams is the favourite to take up the seat vacated by Rosberg.
"Basically, once they've dwindled it down to five drivers, or whatever it is, the shortlist, contractually they have to discuss with me," Hamilton told Channel 4.
"They can put any driver they want – Sebastian, Fernando, bring whoever you really want. I drove against Fernando in my first year [at McLaren in 2007] and beat him, so that's not a worry for me.
"I am happy to drive against any of them. But in terms of what is best for the team, probably not the best ideas."
Hamilton wants his next teammate to be someone he can get along with, even if the inevitable competition for the Formula One title, considering how strong the Mercedes car is, will be there. The three-time world champion does not believe hiring a big name is necessarily the best way to go.
"I don't have a say who it is," Hamilton added, contradicting himself a little. "I recently [saw] comments online saying, 'Lewis doesn't care who his teammate is,' which is a little bit out of context.
"It is important who we have in the second car, important for team morale. We've seen in other teams and times where it can be a poisonous effect on a team, the arch rivalry between drivers.
"And so for sure that's really important, because I'm really happy here, I love being where I am. I've had experiences with certain individuals in the past which I would strongly advise not in a team, to have that scenario. But what I meant is I will drive against any single driver you want."