MAIN MAN: Lewis Hamilton will likely be the senior driver at Mercedes next season after the shock retirement of reigning champion Nico Rosberg.

London - Lewis Hamilton has laid down the law to his Mercedes team, telling them not to meddle with the personnel on his side of the garage.

After Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement, it would look like carelessness to lose a second world champion, a risk that makes Hamilton more powerful than ever.

Having complained about the six mechanics being swapped between him and Rosberg at the beginning of last season, Hamilton (right) said: "I’ll speak to Toto (Wolff, Mercedes chief) about next year and say I don’t want my guys being changed. I want to keep all my engineers. All my mechanics. 

"There is not a single person who needs to leave. I am now their only world champion so hopefully they respect that and the commitment I’ll put in next year."

Wounds are still raw at Mercedes after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, where Hamilton ignored instructions to speed up and instead tried to push Rosberg back into the chasing pack.

Wolff said after the race he was unprepared to accept "anarchy". Those comments caused Hamilton to blank Wolff at the FIA gala dinner in Vienna a fortnight ago. In an interview, Hamilton claimed he had been "disrespected" and the issue was not resolved.

Since the recording, Wolff and Hamilton have spoken and Wolff reiterated his public comments that, in retrospect, they were wrong to ask their star driver to accelerate away. Hamilton is said to have accepted this and moved on.