Lewis Hamilton's claims that his relationship with Nico Rosberg at Mercedes was negative has been taken as a compliment by the German, who says he is open to having "normal" conversations again with the Formula One world champion.
Briton Hamilton and Rosberg rose through the karting ranks together, but their friendship was put to the test when they battled over F1 supremacy as team-mates at Mercedes.
The pair were embroiled in a fight for the title in three straight seasons between 2014 and 2016, with Hamilton coming out on top for the first two years, while Rosberg won the title last year before shockingly announcing his retirement.
Hamilton recently suggested that his triumph in 2017 was due to Rosberg leaving the team, but there is seemingly no ill-feeling towards that opinion.
Speaking to Motorsport, Rosberg said: "I'll read you a quote. This quote is from Lewis Hamilton, 'When you have two strong drivers in the team as we had, well, when the battle is within the team, it's like a hurricane with strong energy and it is just stuck in the room'.
"That's a quote from Lewis and I'll take that as a compliment!
"I won, so I can imagine maybe that wasn't so positive [for him] - I would be saying the same if I lost last year, that it wasn't too positive for me.
"I found it very positive. We were probably the most successful team-mate pairing in the history of Formula 1 on the track.
"We were pushing each other to the ultimate high level. Of course, it's not easy, but that's what in my eyes keeps the drive going and the motivation high. For me, that was largely positive.
"Clearly it was an extremely intense and challenging situation, but all the more rewarding then to come out on top, and against Lewis, who was rewriting the record books himself.
"To come out on top against him was so damn rewarding, and all that has come together in me being just absolutely so entirely fulfilled with my career, because the ending was just perfection for me."
On his relationship with Hamilton, Rosberg added: "The fact is that I'm not at all a competitor anymore - it's a completely different ball-game now, I am 100 per cent out.
"That changes a lot of things and therefore I don't see why, with time, we can't start having conversations again in a normal way.
"I've always had great respect for him, I don't have anything against him, he was just a competitor and then naturally there was this difficult situation, but the base respect was always there.
"I still respect him as a person and as a racing driver – I always will and always have. That always remains and remains since we were 14 years old."
23 de abril 2018
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