Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Hamilton supports Mercedes’ decision to keep “formidable” Bottas

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton praised Mercedes’ decision to keep Valtteri Bottas at the team for another year, calling it a “smart” move.

The pair will spend their fourth season alongside each other in 2020.

“I think continuity is always a great thing,” said Hamilton. “I think we have a great environment that we work in, that we’ve created over time.

“It’s going to be the fourth year. We have a great working relationship, Valtteri and I. It’s constantly improving. I think it was a smart decision from the team to be honest. I really enjoy working with him in general. We get on well both outside and on the track.”

Bottas joined the team after Nico Rosberg unexpectedly retired at the end of 2016. Despite that disruption he and Hamilton have forged a successful partnership which has sustained Mercedes’s streak of championship success despite facing stronger competition from their rivals.

Hamilton said the “rapport” the pair enjoy has been key to their successful partnership.

“We always had really good respect between us,” he said. “And that’s not really very common, particularly when it’s so competitive.

“He wakes up and he wants to beat me, I wake up and naturally want to beat him. But we shake each others’ hands as men.

“The energy’s just really nice within the organisation. When we’re in the office and we get in the car we try and do the best job we can. We don’t come back and bring in any negativity and pull down individuals within the team. It’s always quite uplifting no matter what.

“Also he’s very self-critical and I’m very much the same and I think that’s a real great quality to have within an athlete because a lot of the time the first person to point the finger at is yourself and that’s what we do. So we share a lot in common in that respect.

“He’s a formidable force. He’s a great, great driver and he’s continuing to improve. He’s five years behind me so he’s going to continue to get better so I’m glad we got another year together.”

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Dieter Rencken
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  • 53 comments on “Hamilton supports Mercedes’ decision to keep “formidable” Bottas”

    1. Well that’s a surprise.
      I would have thought he would prefer Max or Charles to be in the same car as him,

      1. I’d love to see that too! Imagine the squabbles though about who gets to steer!

        (Seriously though hope you’re in good form this weekend as I rely on you (and others) to keep me entertained and informed as I “watch” the race weekend through Race Fans.)
        @nullapax

    2. Why would Hamilton not support the decision? Bottas is known entity to him and by all accounts, no threat over a season. Comfy…

    3. Translation, “I am glad the enfant terrible” moved on to Renault and the reliable less error prone, valterri stays”

      1. Was he made by peugeot in the mid 2000s???

    4. Unhappy and sad with this decision. Mercedes lost a real talent in Ocon.

      1. They lost an even bigger talent when they spurned Ricciardo, but I guess they don’t need to make it too obvious they’ve got a Championship winning car.

        1. I wouldn’t be so sure about “even bigger talent”. Let’s see how Ric would fare against Ocon next year. In the worst case scenario for Ric, Ocon didn’t lose anything in this “year off” and only benefited from this (became more mature and calm), and would “do a Verstappen” on him once again: outpacing him, team starts to favour him (french), etc…

        2. Imagine if Lewis walks off at the end of his contract (2020) then Mercedes is left with only Bottas. They have lost Ocon and Hamilton might leave for Ferrari or retire.
          What is the use of giving Bottas 1 year extensions as he is clearly not the future of Mercedes instead of signing up real talents like Ocon and Ricciardo when they were available.
          There is no guarantee Max would join Mercedes and they may loose Lewis as well.
          Not a good decision at all.

          1. There is no way LH is leaving any time soon. I predict he has at least 5 more seasons in him minimum.

          2. Seb may choose them for 2021, after his 5th WDC in 2020.

          3. I get the impression Merc rate Russell more than Ocon, in that scenario I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell in the car. Also every driver on the grid would want to drive a Mercedes, don’t think they’d struggle to find someone!

          4. You are extremely overratin Ocon and underrating Bottas. BOT is currently better than OCO.

          5. 1/2 of the grid could steer that Merc to a championsip, heck even Bot could do it. Ham needs Merc much more than they need him!

            1. But what happens when the cars are close Glamo? Dint think that through did you. Alot could win the championship if Lewis was not there teammate that is. Only one driver in Max could beat Hamilton in a fair fight with equal reliability and even then i would back Hamilton. Max as the age advantage though so i feel he really could start to beat Hamilton big time. Hamilton is not getting any younger

      2. If Ocon is so great, what does that make Perez who scored a not insignificant amount more points in both seasons they were teammates? Maybe Perez should get the Merc seat over Ocon if we’re going by the numbers!

        Ocon might be good, but I have my doubts he’s any better than Bottas and most certainly not on the same plane as Hamilton and Verstappen.

      3. Time will tell but i believe Bottas is a step better and had they of replaced him, Ocon’s career could of dived dramatically against Lewis.

    5. Once again F1 elites showing no interest in inter-team or even intra-team battles for the sake of the ‘show’. Same old FIA not bothered about competitive racing.

      1. In fairness there was plenty of intra-team battles with LH and NR, and Merc had signed Nico through 2018 before he retired. So as supposedly ‘negative’ or ‘unharmonious’ or whatever term one wants to use for how it was between them, Merc were happy to have more of it when they were locking out the 1 and 2 spots on the grid every weekend.

        FIA has little or nothing to do with what the teams do with their driver choices as far as I know.

      2. ‘F1 Elites’ are paid tens of millions of dollars to win the WCC. Everything else (WDC) is secondary, or in the instances you mention, non-existent as a goal.

        Bottas has won poles, races, podiums and fast eat laps. As much as I rate Ocon, he has yet to accomplish any of that.

        By signing Bottas for a year, Merc puts themselves in a good position to get Verstappen for 2021 and Russell in 2022. They would clearly have gotten Lewis’ input regarding his plans to make this happen in coordination with him. He will likely have beaten all the records by then, and will leave the team in a position to win another decade of championships.

        1. *fastest*

          You can only consume porridge so quickly..

    6. i dont think Bottas is much less than Rosberg, and Rosberg had quite a lot of years in F1 before the real success. even the best champions get beaten occasionally. Hamilton not really beaten Button during their partnership, so a bit of luck for Valtteri and maybe u ‘ll see that one season at such small margins’ sport like F1 is only mid-term

      if i were Hamilton i’d like to beat Schumacher’s record at this state of my career, so its better for him not to sign the two very promising and quite proven titans Mac, and Charles :) at least not for 1-2 years, then
      it’d be nice sportmanship to have a teammate like one of those two with more experience

      1. i dont think Bottas is much less than Rosberg,

        Based on what I’ve seen in the last 2.5 years, it is clear that Bottas is a tier below Rosberg as a driver.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          29th August 2019, 23:19

          Rosberg for the latest 3 years at Mercedes had no competition virtually the whole season from the other teams. He also had the advantage of being with the team since 2010. So that is significantly more experience than Bottas has. I think few concider this before comparing them. He also was against hamilton who was newer to the team. It is now the other way round for Bottas. Bottas also in his first year with the team, was closer to Hamilton in the championship than Rosberg was in 2014 and 2015. And also consider that in all the years Bottas was against Hamilton, the other cars were far more competitive than 2014 – 2016. If I’m honest, given hamilton had worse luck than Hamilton with the teams only retirement in Spain 2017, Bottas being this close in his first season should be considered pretty impressive really. With all this plus Rosberg’s experience advantage, I really can’t say he is much better than Bottas. He had more aggression but made bigger errors and more of them too. He also IMO wasn’t as clean wheel to wheel as Bottas is.

          I would say Rosberg was slightly better, but in different areas. Overall Bottas is very nearly as good IMO.

        2. BOTTAS is both faster and cleaner than ROS. Look how HAM DEMOLISHED ROS in 2014 and 2015. Complete domination by HAM, even more so then what he has done to BOT.

      2. There is no question that Lewis beat Jenson during there 3 years at being teammates. Lewis had a slight chance, and in the running for the 2010 WDC, and a better chance for the 2012 championship. Button wasn’t in the running for a WDC in the 3 years at being partnered with Hamilton

        I really can’t remember Jenson passing Lewis like this.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7IiR6Mgwyk

        1. @samouri

          Lewis should have been beating the slower Ferrari more often though.

    7. Bottas is not a Rosberg, so Lewis knows he will be a loyal number 2 (sometimes known as joint number 1)..and do whatever the team want him to do..to help Lewis,,,.and also give George Russell another season to mature, before he moves to Mercedes…

    8. Unfortunately VB is only formidable fleetingly, so of course everything is all roses and kittens on the team. If he could ever up his game the gloves would be off and the atmosphere more tense. So no challenge to LH from VB likely, so we’ll have to get it from Max and the Ferraris for the rest of this year and next, and then it will be a whole different set of possibilities in 2021.

      1. Wel @robbie we know what it takes for a good driver to beat Hamilton it leaves you retiring as you cannot hack the fight. Bottas is doing very well and dare i say if he was German Merc would have manipulated a title by now for him. Rosberg had not competition from other cars.

    9. As I have said consistently where is this evidence that Ocon is so much better than Bottas? I have not seen it.

      To hear some people’s comments, after just a couple of seasons in F1, one would think it is obvious that Ocon is definitely in the same class as Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, etc. I never saw it. Quite frankly I think it’s ridiculous.

      Let’s see how he fares up against Ricciardo next year. Then we can truly rate him.

      1. I agree with this. I remember it being pretty close between Ocon and Perez, a driver who was sacked by McLaren for not being quick enough. He’s clearly very good, but so is Bottas. I think whichever choice Merc made, Hamilton easily has the beating of both.

        I think Riccardo will beat him quite comfortable next year

        1. Wasn’t Perez fired for his bad work ethics?

    10. Ham really should be feeling embarrassed to be sleep walking into his Merc championships with minimal effort! He’ll never be regarded as one of the greats with lapdogs as his teammates…

      1. because Michael had really hard teammates. oh wait.

        1. Difference is Michael proved himself against other teams, and his driving was 100% on it every single time he was in the car – we knew we were seeing a true driving legend.

          Ham on the other hand with a few exceptions has lazily picked up his championships due to the car, with many off weekends and sloppy/lucky drives.

          1. Glad someone else sees it.
            I didn’t like Schumacher, he also had his faults including cracking under pressure, but it’s very evident Lewis is not at the same level over a whole season. Alonso’s strength was also his relentlessness which allowed him to beat Schumacher.
            Lewis has admitted his most consistent seasons were 2007 and 2017.
            1 lucky championship at McLaren all those years with a very good car (usually quicker than the Ferrari of Alonso) speaks volumes.

            1. @bigjoe No championship since Hamilton joined F1 that is what is embarassing. I feel for you i was on the lucky spectrum i supported Hamilton relentlessly and i got rewarded you on the other hand have not witnessed a title for 15 years nearlyy lol… Zero titles and he had the car to do it aswell and could not hack a rookie on his pace. You know what is embarassing riding LeMans when the other car has Nakajima init or they are fixing you to win with tyre blowouts.

          2. so 2008 and 2018 were lazy championships? I disagree.
            it’s not his fault he has no competition from other teams. in 2007 he didn’t lazily win the championship, he lost.

          3. Did you miss 2018 Glamo and lol are you talking about Vettel and not Hamilton? Hamilton has had the toughest teammates on the grid by a mile what are you talking about and he as beaten everyone of them he has had one bad year in F1 2011. Imagine Vettel with Leclerc and Ricciardo instead of Webber how lukcy was he too have the biggest lapdog driver. Guess you missed F1 2009 aswell Hamilton dragging the Mclaren to places in qualifying it did not deserve in the first half of the season. Are you Big Joe by any chance the guy who no one hardly responds to anymore and he does not like not getting the attention.

    11. “Bottas, good boy, good good boy, aren’t you such a good boy”

      1. He really does have the temperament of a lapdog

    12. Yes. A formidable #2

    13. schumi was not on it 100% all the time. he crashed into the wall of champions. into others. he lost races aswell. he also had a whole team including driver who was contracted to not compete with him. he raced dirty as well. very similar to alot of other drivers in some respects. and just like lewis he was in the best car because at the time he was arguably the best driver. just like lewis. generally.

      1. Schumacher cracked under pressure but was still far more consistent over a season than Lewis has ever been.
        Mansell’s one and only season in a dominant car was also better than any of Lewis’s.

        1. Agree about schumacher but mansell had 3 seasons in a dominant car: 1986 and 1987 williams were dominant too, lost both, partially due to unluck, partially due to not being at the same level as other drivers in that area.

      1. @ho3n3r

        Bottas is not even good at that. He has a better car than Verstappen and should be holding him behind.

    14. Ron Dennis goes up in my estimation every year team bosses bottle it like this.
      Some of the best seasons in F1 have been thanks to Ron having paired highly rated up and coming drivers with top drivers, or known top drivers together. I know the lack of testing doesn’t help, but sticking with Bottas has just put a downer on the season. Good news for Verstappen fans though.

      1. well 2007 was a great season for the fans, but not so great for McLaren. 2017, 2018, and 2019 have all been great seasons for Mercedes. it’s a matter of perspective… what would you do in Mercedes’ place?

      2. @bigjoe No championship since Hamilton joined F1 that is what is embarassing. I feel for you i was on the lucky spectrum i supported Hamilton relentlessly and i got rewarded you on the other hand have not witnessed a title for 15 years nearlyy lol… Zero titles and he had the car to do it aswell and could not hack a rookie on his pace.

        You know what is embarassing riding LeMans when the other car has Nakajima init or they are fixing you to win. Alonso would not even touch Indycar or LeMans if he was in a good F1 car. Also you would love it if he was in the Merc over Hamilton you would be claiming Alonso is the goat driver so you are bitter at that. The rookie got preferd over the 2xWC as they seen way more data than we did and then no top team wanted Alonso and Merc went for Hamilton they did noti contact Alonso. Teams have had plenty of chances to get him i wonder why they do not go for Alonso? Even Mclaren are on the way back as soon as he goes says alot

    15. Lets be honest people Alonso would not even ride LeMans or indy if he was ina winning car and his fans would swap the success between Alo and Lewis in a heartbeat they would absoloute love if Alonso had the Merc and Ham was in Lemans, unlucky for them really… Zero titles since Hamilton joined F1 i repeat ZERO and he had the car to do it he should have been a 3 in a row champ but a rookie was on his pace. He lost alsot of his ability to develope a car. Look at the absoloute dogs Alonso has been in over the years in big teams aswell. Ferrari get better when he goes the same for Mclaren hilarious really

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