June 16, 2021

Hamilton: Bottas critics should ‘give him a break’ and Mercedes should keep him in the team | 2021 Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton sees no reason for Mercedes to change its driver line-up, saying they shouldn’t disturb the “equilibrium” in the team by replacing Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference the world champion, who is in his fifth year alongside Bottas, was asked whether Mercedes’s line-up would be strengthened if George Russell took his team mate’s place.

““If I’m really honest I’ve not given it a lot of thought,” said Hamilton. “But from what I’ve experienced from the relationship that I have, of course, with Valtteri I think he’s been an amazing team mate, as I’ve always said.

“If I’m really honest I feel 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.”

Both Hamilton and Bottas are yet to sign new contracts for the 2022 F1 season. Hamilton acknowledged a change in the team’s line up has to happen eventually.

“At some stage it’s going to shift, it’s 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 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.”

Russell substituted for Hamilton during last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix. Driving an unfamiliar and uncomfortable car, Russell passed Bottas at the start and was on course to win when he suffered a setback in the pits.

Hamilton said Russell’s performance had no negative effect on their relationship, and pointed out he sent a supportive message to the Williams driver on social media following his collision with Bottas at Imola.

“Our relationship is 100% still intact. It’s exactly the same. We messaged after his incident in Imola and I hope you can see from the message I’ve put [out], I’m still 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 will continue to do a good job so no issues.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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