LEWIS HAMILTON has quashed rumours he and fellow F1 driver George Russell have had a falling out.
The seven-time world champion was replaced by Williams driver Russell in the Mercedes car for the Sakhir Grand Prix last year after Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus.
Russell would go on to lead the GP for a period of time and it looked as if he was set for a first victory in Formula 1.
But a poor pit stop and puncture at the end saw him fail to finish the Bahrain-based race.
And recent reports have suggested Brits Russell and Hamilton are not on speaking terms, something the current world championship leader vehemently denies.
Hamilton said: “Our relationship is 100 per cent, still intact. It’s exactly the same.
“We messaged after his incident in Imola, and I hope you can see from the message I put on [social media] him so supportive of him.
“He’s going through his own journey, but he’s a great guy.
“He did a great job when he came to the team, and he’ll continue to do great jobs, so no issues.”
And Russell has reiterated Hamilton’s comments by playing down any talk of a rift.
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“I think the question towards me was ‘did you speak to Lewis after Bahrain?’ And we didn’t speak, as we wouldn’t speak after any other race,” Russell told reporters.
“We are racing against each other. If we would see each other in the paddock, we would speak. We’ve seen each other this year, a little fist-bump along the way, and that’s been the same since it has been since 2019.
“My relationship towards Lewis is the same as it is with a lot of the drivers around the paddock, which is completely fine.
“There are no hard feelings or no issues between myself and Lewis.”
Hamilton has won three of the first four races of the season, with Max Verstappen claiming the other.
Meanwhile, Russell has not yet picked up any points for Williams in the 2021 campaign.