Hamilton: Working relationship with Bottas is "better than ever"

Lewis Hamilton says his working relationship with Valtteri Bottas is “better than ever”, but will support whatever decision Mercedes takes over his Formula 1 team-mate for 2022.

Hamilton and Bottas have raced together at Mercedes since the start of 2017, winning four constructors’ championships in that period, with Hamilton taking the drivers’ title in all those years as well.

Mercedes is currently weighing up whether to continue with Bottas as Hamilton’s teammate for next year or promote junior driver George Russell into the seat from Williams.

Hamilton has spoken highly of Bottas throughout their time as teammates, and said in June that he did not “necessarily see that it needs to change” for 2022.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff previously said that a decision would be taken over the summer months. While no announcement has been made, Bottas and Russell stayed coy about any possible call on Thursday ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, in the garage

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, in the garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport if he was talking to Wolff about things or was involved in the process, Hamilton said they had naturally spoken about plans, but that he would support Mercedes’ final decision.

“I’ve obviously been vocal in the past of my loyalty to Valtteri, and worked incredibly closely with him,” Hamilton said.

“I think our working relationship is better than ever.

“Toto’s a great leader, and as I’ve said in the past, we always stay connected. Of course, we talk about these things.

“And naturally, we’re all part of the same team, we want what’s best for the team moving forwards, we want to win more championships, and so we just have conversations.

“At the end of the day, it’s just down to him and the board at Mercedes to make that decision. I’m a part of the team so I’ll support them whichever way they go, naturally.

“But yeah, I’m just at the moment trying to put all of my energy into doing the best I can this season.”

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Hamilton heads into the second half of the season leading Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by just eight points at the top of the drivers’ championship as he bids for a record-breaking eighth world title.

Hamilton had trailed Verstappen by 32 points after the Austrian Grand Prix, but has seen momentum swing in his favour after winning at Silverstone and finishing second in Hungary.

“We've definitely upped our game,” Hamilton said.

“We’ve also, even just during this break, in terms of taking time to reflect on looking at where we've been and where we're going, I have no doubts that we will take another step forward in our processes and how we apply ourselves.

“It's been a real positive thing to see.”

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