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Lewis Hamilton: Ending teammate data sharing would be good for F1 fans

Lewis Hamilton believes it would enhance the spectacle if Formula One teammates were denied access to each other's data and had to rely solely on their own ability.

Hamilton has been a long-time critic of how data is shared across garages in modern F1, something he felt was particularly challenging during the last three years as he battled Nico Rosberg for successive titles in identical machinery. That situation allowed both drivers to study where their teammate was gaining time in comparison to his own performance.

This year Hamilton is joined by a new teammate, Valtteri Bottas, but he does not want to learn the Finn's strengths and weaknesses by looking at a computer screen. Last week several media outlets quoted the three-time world as saying he wanted to see data sharing banned, though he has clarified why he feels that would benefit the sport.

When asked at the launch of Mercedes' 2017 challenger whether that meant he just wanted the team's data to be focused on his own performance, he said: "No, that's not my point. What I referred to is that it's cool for the engineers and the team to use it to continue to move forward - that's very important for us - and for them to share the information of the car engineering wise to advance the performance of the car. That's very important."

"What I refer to is me as an individual. My job when I arrive at the track is to be the best, get out there and exploit the car in the best way I can and I feel. But the way that the sport is now, whoever your teammate is you get to see their data and compare your data to it and you see if there are improvements to someone else's driving style you can adapt to it."

"I just feel that to make it harder for us drivers, they should remove that so we have to rely on our own data and compare your own laps to your own laps, and before you go out there you decide to try a different line in the corner - it may or may not work. There are going to be weekends when you get it right and there are going to be weekends when you just don't know where the time is, but you can't find out and the other guy does [know]."

"I think that just makes it more of a challenge for a driver, and ultimately I think the better driver the more he will be able to get there faster or find something new faster than the others. That's really my point."

Hamilton, who shared the launch of the W08 and his media press conference live on Instagram for his fans, also thinks F1 should re-evaluate its social media strategy.

When asked how Liberty Media should improve its interaction with fans, he replied: "I don't have all the answers and that's not my expertise, but if you look at football, social media is so much greater and I think they utilise social media a lot better in football, in NBA, in NFL and in Formula One every time I would have posted a picture or a video I would have got a warning from the FIA or a notice telling me to take it down.

"I think hopefully this year they will change that rule and allow social media for all of us because social media is an incredible platform for the world to communicate with. For the sport to be able to grow, it is a super easy, free tool for the sport and for us to be able to use and share and engage with other people. There are people that are following me who have not been Formula One fans for a long long time, but one of their friends who happen to follow me or one of the other drivers has said to follow and has since started to watch the race. So I'm sure it's one of the fastest and the new way forwards."