FIERCE TEAM MATES: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (right) and Lewis Hamilton will continue their battle to be the No.1 driver in the team. Image: AFP / Lluis Gene
MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Germany's Nico Rosberg has welcomed the prospect of having two-times Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton as his Mercedes team mate for years to come.
And that's even though he knows their racing rivalry will always be "complicated".
Speaking after Mercedes announced a three-year contract extension on Wednesday (May 20) that will keep Hamilton at the sport's dominant team until at least 2018, the German congratulated the Briton.
RIFE INTERNAL BATTLE
Rosberg said: "It's great. We have a great battle, that's what racing is about, battles like that. At the moment It's a mutual relationship and also it's working OK between us. We are really pushing each other... to higher levels all the time."
Rosberg agreed his own multi-year extension in July 2014.
"It's a complicated battle because it is internal," he added. "We have to think about the team at the same time as thinking about beating each other. It is always going to be complicated.
"Both of us want to win so there are ups and downs and there's always going be another down or so, but at the moment it's OK."
Rosberg took the title battle to the wire in 2014, despite Hamilton winning 11 races to his five, and is again the Briton's closest rival.
Hamilton posted a picture on his Instagram account, thanking Mercedes for its support:
The two were team mates in their teens but their friendly relationship underwent a real test in 2014. They were barely on speaking terms after the 2014 Monaco GP when Rosberg denied Hamilton pole with an error that brought out warning flags just as the Briton was set to go faster, and they collided in Belgium.
Asked whether he might want to renegotiate his own contract, with Hamilton reported to be set for stratospheric earnings, the German - who is chasing his third successive Monaco victory - smiled.
"I'm very happy with my contract. I haven't seen the numbers and I don't know anything about them," he said. "I doubt you are going to get anywhere close to the real figure - I know that from experience.
"I really enjoy the challenge of racing Lewis, I always have because he is an awesome driver and it is a great challenge to try to beat him. And to beat him."
Rosberg said he had not expected Hamilton to go anywhere else, despite rumours of Ferrari interest.
"There is no better place to be than Mercedes," he said. "This is the best team in F1 and probably will be for many years."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 series.