F1 champion Hamilton: People need to give Bottas a break

Lewis Hamilton believes that Valtteri Bottas’s critics “need to give him a break”, saying that Mercedes currently has the best line-up on the Formula 1 grid.

F1 champion Hamilton: People need to give Bottas a break

Bottas and Hamilton have been Mercedes team-mates since the start of the 2017 season, winning the constructors’ championship in each of the past four years together.

Bottas finished as runner-up to Hamilton in the championship in both 2019 and 2020, but has struggled to match his team-mate’s form through the early part of the new season.

Hamilton has scored two race wins and leads the drivers’ standings, but Bottas has not finished a race any higher than third, leaving him 37 points behind in the championship.

Bottas hit back at a suggestion he could be replaced by Mercedes junior George Russell mid-season on Thursday, calling it “bullshit”.

Hamilton was supportive of Bottas when asked if Mercedes would have a stronger line-up next year by replacing the Finn with Russell, and felt he deserved to be cut some of the criticism he has faced.

“From what I’ve experienced, from the relationship of course that I have with Valtteri, I think he’s been an amazing team-mate as I’ve always said,” Hamilton said.

“If I’m really honest, I feel like we have the best line-up currently in terms of deliverables, in terms of the equilibrium that’s within our team, and the general knowledge in terms of moving our car forwards.

“Look, at some stage it is going to shift, it is going to change. I’m not going to be here forever, Valtteri won’t be here forever, but right now, I think we’ve delivered time and time again over the years, and we continue to.

“Valtteri just qualified on pole at the last race. It’s only the fourth race. I think people need to give him a break, and just let him focus on doing what he’s doing.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Both Hamilton and Bottas are out of contract at the end of the current season, while Russell will also be a free agent after his deal with Williams expires.

Russell made his Mercedes debut at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix when he deputised for Hamilton after the seven-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19.

Read Also:

In that race, Russell qualified second and came close to winning the race before a pit error and a late puncture, before Hamilton returned for the Abu Dhabi season finale.

Russell previously dismissed a rumour that he was no longer talking with Hamilton, who stressed their relationship was “100% still intact” and “exactly the same” following the Sakhir performance.

“We messaged after his incident at Imola, and I hope you can see from the message I put on, I’m supportive of him,” Hamilton said when asked by Autosport to clarify those rumours.

“He’s going through his own journey, but he’s a great guy, and he did a great job when he came to the team, and he’ll continue to do a good job. So no issues.”

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen: F1 needs better solution for track limits

Previous article

Verstappen: F1 needs better solution for track limits

Next article

Hamilton unsurprised by Red Bull's F1 hires from Mercedes

Hamilton unsurprised by Red Bull's F1 hires from Mercedes
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021