Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Hamilton thanks Bottas for his role in title win

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton thanked Valtteri Bottas for the role he played in clinching the title.

Bottas handed victory to his team mate in the Russian Grand Prix last month. Speaking after his championship win on Sunday, Hamilton said that had been “one of the most difficult moments of the year” for him.

“At the core of me I want to win the race by winning the race,” said Hamilton. “Being let by in Russia was a horrible feeling for, I would say, I think everyone in the team.

“I think also for Valtteri it was not a great feeling. He just came up to me now, and we have such a huge respect for each other.”

Bottas was also called upon to let Hamilton by twice during the United States Grand Prix. But Hamilton said the pair have a “great partnership” in how they co-operate off the track.

“I see how hard he works, he sees how hard I work, we don’t play games in between to try to throw off the guy. In actual fact, we work together.

“There are times were I’ve figured something out in my set-up and I’ll tell [him] and there are times that I can talk to him and be open. It’s the greatest partnership in terms of respect and teamwork from drivers that I’m sure has ever existed in Formula 1 probably.

“This year definitely there have been times when he has been fundamental in us winning races. Ultimately, the team don’t care which driver wins, so there are scenarios where he could have been up ahead and I’m the second driver and I needed to play my role. My goal, in my mind, was ‘OK, I’ve got to make sure I’m always ahead’. If it comes to a point that you need someone to support, it’s Valtteri.”

Bottas suffered a series of setbacks earlier in the year when he missed opportunities to win races. Hamilton agreed his team mate had been unlucky at times.

“He started out really strong and then he had some really difficult races. I think Baku, for example, was a huge hit for him. He deserved that win and then he [had] that tyre blow up.

“I’m very, very grateful to him as a team-mate and for the help that he has given me in achieving this incredible dream so a big, big thank you to him.”

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Keith Collantine
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41 comments on “Hamilton thanks Bottas for his role in title win”

  1. A real thank you would be to go back to Russia (with his money you should be able to buy a time machine) and give the win back.

    (and ideally allow him to attack in Germany, but then the title race would still be open)

    1. I think Mercedes made the right call in both cases. As Wolff said at the time (paraphrasing): “I’d rather be the villain today than the idiot at the end of the season.” Any sensible person in his shoes would have made the same choice.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bottas take at least one of the final two races though now that it’s all sewn up (WCC to follow shortly I imagine…).

  2. Nice words and they certainly do seem to have a productive partnership. Bottas has been unlucky in several races, as Hamilton mentions (Baku, Paul Ricard etc.), but he’s also been absolutely nowhere in some others. He’s currently at serious risk of finishing 5th in a Championship that his team-mate has won with two races to spare. Mercedes will surely win the WCC as well, but it must be in the back of their mind that it could’ve gone a very different way if Ferrari and Vettel hadn’t imploded on a few occasions.

    If I were in charge of Mercedes I would certainly keep Bottas for 2019 (as they have done), on the caveat that he has to be closer in performance to Hamilton or Ocon will be coming in for 2020. Again, I’m sure that is inevitably the plan; though Bottas needs to make himself more difficult to replace. If he can win several races next year and outclass Hamilton a few times, they’ll struggle to justify replacing him.

    1. they certainly do seem to have a productive partnership

      @ben-n – any more, and it’d be a reproductive partnership! :-)

  3. MB (@muralibhats)
    29th October 2018, 13:25

    The Russia incident was not needed at all. Any TDH could have expected Hamilton to win the title this year. The lead could not be beaten. Really robbed Bottas of the win.

    1. @muralibhats You never know for sure beforehand, though. Hamilton not getting those extra seven points from that race could’ve proved costly, so better to maximize all the available points.

      1. MB (@muralibhats)
        29th October 2018, 17:09

        50+ points to be taken by Vettel and without Lewis scoring points? The championship would had been better won and enjoyed by Hamilton if there was that challenge.

        1. “50+ points to be taken by Vettel and without Lewis scoring points?”

          Like Raikkonen v Hamilton in 2007 with 2 races remaining?

          1. MB (@muralibhats)
            30th October 2018, 5:06

            No. There was alonso also to factor in and the gap was not this wide.

  4. Hamilton is now 64 points ahead of Vettel with only 50 left to play for. Even if he’d lost 2nd in Russia and finished 3rd he’d have a 51 point lead and still have taken the championship in Mexico.

    I know hindsight is wonderful, I know team orders like this have always happened, and I know pragmatically it was the best call by Mercedes. But it’s never going to feel like good sport, I mean these aren’t life and death or critical business decisions, it’s sport, a bit of fun. I think it’s a little less special when they meddle with the outcomes like this and I’m disappointed they did. The glum faces during the podium ‘celebration’ told it all really.

    1. Some would argue that this is a business. At this level, too much money is involved for it to be considered “sport”. A competition is the simplest I would describe it, not a sport. The problem with F1 is that its business model has never really been sustainable. Money ruined F1.

      Big business doesn’t care about sport, they care about being at the front where the cameras are. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull don’t want more teams in their spotlight, they just want more exciting racing among them, so more viewers will tune in to see their whats on their cars.

      Swapping Bottas and Hamilton to secure the championship is the most sporting thing i’ve seen in F1 this year. Everything else is carefully managed from a room off track.

      1. Money ruined F1.

        Money makes F1 too. Performance costs money, and more money buys better performance. Innovation costs money. Research costs money. Development costs money.

    2. I agree. Should have let Bottas win and that has nothing to do with hindsight. It just felt like the correct thing to do all round given that in all likelihood, Hamilton was going to win the title anyway.

      1. My understanding is that the swap was not to Give Lewis the win it was to protect Lewis from losing points to Vettel. If Vettel had not been so close and they had not thought Lewis’ tyres were going off then I don’t think they would have swapped them.

  5. Ohhh….yahhh….more likely greatest wingman ever. VB should be more like Rosberg.

    1. For sure VB should be more like Nico, but I fear he is not. And imho the greatest wingmen ever, not that I respected them for it whatsoever, were Irvine and Barricello who actually signed contracts to not compete, from race ones of the seasons they partnered MS. At least VB was free, in the same equipment as well, to stamp his authority on the team in the beginning. I’m not hold my breath for that to happen, but at least it theoretically can.

      1. @robbie – I’d be interested to see the sources you cite for saying Irvine and Barrichello had ‘non compete’ clauses from day one. I know we’ve had this discussion several times, but I’d be interested to know where you got that information from.

        1. @ben-n Limited on time at the moment but in the case of RB for example, just google the post-race interviews from Austria 02.

        2. “It’s in the contract.”

    2. Botas just hasn’t got the fighting spirit that won Rosberg the title.

    3. That accolade is reserved for Sterling Moss

    4. Cal Norton Jr was the greatest wingman ever. Shake and Bake!

  6. “You can be my wingman any time.” – Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky

    1. And only Rosberg was up to giving the reply to that :-)

  7. Anyone else gets the temptation to just cut off those two braids off Lewis’ hair?

  8. Yet more people bleating on because they cannot understand that F1 is a team sport. Not just 2 drivers but 1000s back at the factory. It is such an easy concept. Man fails to clean up at factory and dust contaminates a part. Part under-performs team loses on track. Wheel gun fails because team member fails on simple maintenance task = Team loses race. A driver moves over to ensure win for the good of the team = You know the rest, queue moaning… I dare you guys to watch football as one team member passes the ball to team mate and team mate scores. The horror. In cycling where on rider burns himself out setting the pace so another rider can win for the team, oh the injustice!! etc. Team sports are full of team members. Who’d have thunk it?

    1. So you are suggesting to remove the WDC as F1 is a team sport.

      1. Then Lewis would still have bragging rights.

      2. He doesn’t, 5he tour de France still has a maillot jaune

  9. So the next two races are gifted to BOT. It’s only for constructor points now and to avoid loosing his 4th place..

    1. Dont buy the illusion that Bottas is fighting for the 4th spot because he supported Hamilton. You cant “gift” two races to a guy thats 20-30sec off pace.

  10. Good boy Valtteri.
    Sit, stand, roll over.
    Good boy!

    And this is the reason Ocon will never geg a Mercedes drive…

    1. @eurobrun

      There’s no saying how good Ocon will be even if he gets the drive. Maybe he will only have the pace to be as good as a #2.

      I like Ocon.. I think he has potential… but he hasn’t set the world on fire with his pace. He’s still nowhere close to Verstappen and I would rate him lower than Leclerc. He’s still struggling to beat Perez.. who isn’t anywhere close to Hamilton’s level. So why would you think Ocon is any better than Bottas.. and any more capable of challenging Lewis?

      Maybe Ocon might have WDC qualities in the future.. so far he hasn’t shown enough to drop a tried and tested Bottas.

      1. @todfod I think it should be quite clear by now that Ocon isn’t the “set the world alight” kind of driver, but rather, much like Perez, the kind of driver that consistently performs at a high level and brings home the results. His peaks aren’t the highest, but he’s hardly ever off the pace. His GP3 season, where he won the championship by winning just one race strongly supports that point of view.

        Also, I wouldn’t call a 15-4 advantage in qualifying and 11-5 (Or 10-6?) advantage in races as “struggling to beat Perez”. These are margins even Hulkenberg (who’s supposed to be a strong qualifier) couldn’t achieve against Perez. Checo does have an uncanny ability to end up scoring points somehow, but the points difference between him and Ocon hides how often the former has been outperformed by the Frenchman. Not to mention Ocon’s bad luck in USA.

        In my opinion, Perez can more than match Bottas…I think he can beat him, and I rate the current version of Ocon slightly higher than Perez

        1. @neutronstar

          the kind of driver that consistently performs at a high level and brings home the results. His peaks aren’t the highest, but he’s hardly ever off the pace.

          Doesn’t that sound like a fit description of Bottas during his Williams years?

          I agree ocon has a quali advantage on Perez. But he doesn’t have exceptional racecraft, or else, he’d be leading Perez right now. That hardly warrants a sure shot Mercedes race seat to be honest.

          As I said, we have no proof that he’d perform any better than Bottas against Hamilton. If he was massively impressive as Verstappen and Leclerc have been, Toto would have offered him that seat already. Right now, he’s a gamble that’s not worth it.

          1. @todfod You’re right about Bottas’ Williams years, but he had the fortune of being paired with Massa, who while still very much capable of driving a car and showing good pace sometimes, was well past his prime. Bottas’ record against Maldonado in his debut year wasn’t exactly stellar.

            Similarly, Leclerc and Gasly have had the fortune of being paired with mediocre drivers, which allows them to take the spotlight more. Ocon on the other hand, was paired with a veteran still in his prime, who had defeated the highly rated Hulk two years in a row. In 2017, Ocon was significantly behind in both qualy and race results and was close to Perez in points only because of his consistency. The improvement from last year is quite apparent and quite large, it’s just that the more competitive nature of the midfield this year makes standout results such as Perez’ podium in Baku make a lot of difference in the overall result.

            I don’t think Perez gets enough credit for his driving ability. He was able to match and even beat Button regularly in the second half of 2013 and I’ve mentioned his performance against the Hulk already. It’s tough for Ocon to really stand out in this scenario, given that he isn’t a flashy and gutsy kind of driver like Max.

  11. Mark in Florida
    30th October 2018, 1:02

    Don’t be sad Bottas, take it like a man. A man in prison.

  12. Bottas was a ‘sensational wingman’ to quote Toto Wolff.

    By my count he moved over for Hamilton 6 times during the season, had his strategy sabotaged in order to be Mercedes rear gunner numerous times, was forced to hand over a win to Hamilton in Russia, Hamilton even had a Force India jumping out of his way in almost comical fashion early in the season.

    For a guy that doesn’t like team orders, Hamilton sure benefited from them many, many times during the season.

    The team orders are bit of an asterisk against this title for me. Forcing Bottas to move over for Hamilton and hand him the win was needless as Hamilton had an almost unassailable lead in the championship.

    It’s not a good look when you’re in the best car yet still using a teammate to gift you a win.

    1. It seems you are not a Hamilton fan but twisting the facts to suit your own version of reality will not change the stats and if you think Ferrari or any other team would not have done the same if they were in the same position then you are living in cloud cuckoo land.
      Team orders have existed in F1 from day one, in one form or another which means both drivers doing their best for the “team”. By my reckoning Bottas moved over once (team orders) and not 6 and where is your evidence that his strategy was deliberately sabotaged.
      Unlike Schumacher, Hamilton’s team mates have been allowed to race him until such time as they have no mathematical chance of winning the WDC, so I guess you have or now will have asterisk’s against Schumacher’s titles as well.
      Vettel was gracious enough to congratulate Hamilton and Mercedes on a job well done, shame you can’t do the same.

      1. It seems you are not a Hamilton fan but twisting the facts to suit your own version of reality will not change the stats and if you think Ferrari or any other team would not have done the same if they were in the same position then you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

        Ferrari had ample opportunity to use team orders this year but didn’t. Their lack of team orders put Vettel under unnecessary pressure in Hockenheim. We must commend them though for their sense of fairness.

        Unlike Schumacher, Hamilton’s team mates have been allowed to race him until such time as they have no mathematical chance of winning the WDC, so I guess you have or now will have asterisk’s against Schumacher’s titles as well.

        Simply false. Bottas has been used rear gunner and had his strategy sabotaged to suit Hamilton since coming into the team last year. Bottas was even forced to hand a win to Hamilton in Russia.

        Also false about Schumacher teammates being forced to hand wins to Schumacher.

        In actual fact, Schumacher has handed more wins to teammates than vice versa.

        Schumacher was handed Austria 2002 by my count.

        Schumacher handed Malaysia 1999 to Irvine, he handed USA 2002 to Barrichello. Schumacher’s Japan 1999 was forced to act as rear gunner for Irvine.

        And that’s not including Italy 2002, Hungary 2002 and Europe 2002 where Schumacher clearly let Barrichello win. Schumacher finished all those races on Barrichello’s tail to demonstrate he was quicker but paying Barrichello back.

        So Schumacher comes out behind by my count. He should have at least 95 race wins.

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