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Lewis Hamilton's relationship with Nico Rosberg now better than ever

"It's actually really good with Nico. Really, really good. Surprisingly," says Lewis; Mercedes set to extend championship leader's contract

Lewis Hamilton has revealed his relationship with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg is better than ever - and the pair recently bonded while relaxing by the swimming pool they share in Monaco.

While Hamilton and Rosberg's title rivalry has shaped the F1 narrative over the last two and a half years, the pair have appeared at ease with each other throughout 2016 and almost immediately reconciled after their race-wrecking crash in Spain last month.

That amicability was in sharp contrast to the sour fall-out from their collision in Spa two years ago which threatened to tear the team asunder as their relationship, dating back almost twenty years, collapsed under the weight of pressure from their exclusive battle for the world championship.

Rosberg and Hamilton were also warned at the end of the 2015 season that Mercedes would consider changing driver line-up unless they learnt to co-exist - a warning that, according to Hamilton, has been organically heeded by the passage of time, children and an unlikely meeting in Monte Carlo.

"It's actually really good with Nico at the moment," Hamilton told The Daily Mail. "Really, really good. Surprisingly. I would definitely not have expected it to be where it is. I guess it is probably with age. He's a family man. He's got a kid. He has probably grown in that process and I have grown and come of age. The respect that we have always talked about is bigger than it has ever been.

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Nico Rosberg says he and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton have matured and are getting along a lot better

"So now we generally just discuss things. Whether we're unhappy about something or not, we discuss it face to face. If I have a problem, I knock on his door and ask if I can speak to him privately. We never address it publically or in front of the team. So far, at least.

"We say straight up, 'Hey man, I wasn't cool with that'. And he does that to me as often as I do to him. The other day, I was swimming in my pool - the building we live in in Monaco, there is a shared communal pool - and I guess he saw me from his apartment and came down and sat on the diving board and when I finished a few laps, we sat and talked for 20 minutes or half an hour. In a relaxed state."

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Heading into next week's Austrian GP, the first of four races in five weeks before the summer break, Rosberg leads the drivers' championship by 24 points. Confirmation that the German has agreed a new contract with Mercedes is expected imminently, with only the length of the new deal currently open to speculation amid suggestions he is pressing for a three-year extension. 

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