Valtteri Bottas has rubbished reports of Mercedes having a mid-season driver change, as Lewis Hamilton rallies support for F1 teammate and adds on his relation with George Russell.
Between Portuguese GP and Spanish GP, a British tabloid wrote about Mercedes going for a mid-season F1 driver change, where they will drop Bottas in favour of Russell alongside Hamilton – something that the outfit has never done in its history since return.
Talking about the same, Bottas played down the ‘bullshit’ story, while adding that this kind of change is only carried out by one team on the grid. He didn’t mention them, but the Finn was pointing towards Red Bull, who have done so multiple times.
“I know that I’m not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” said Bottas in the press conference to media including F1, Motorsport Network, Sky Sports, Racefans and more. “As a team, we don’t do that. I have a contract for this year and I believe there’s only one team that does that kind of things in F1 and we’re not that.
“So [there’s] no pressure from my side. I know how things are and there’s always bullshit around. That’s part of the sport,” summed up Bottas, who added that his focus is to eradicate the deficit to Hamilton in the standings after another rough start to his season.
“There’s still 20 races to go which is a huge amount of points,” said Bottas. “I’m definitely not giving up on the goal for this year. I always believe that hard work will pay off so I’ll keep working hard and keep believing and I know that the results will come and it will pay off. About any team orders, etc, I’m not worried, to be honest.
“Not at all. I know there’s a bit of a gap now, but it’s super-early days. For me there’s no point starting to think about that so I’m not worried,” summed up Bottas, as Hamilton once again rallied support for the Finn, as he has done many times before.
“From what I’ve experienced, from the relationship of course that I have with Valtteri Bottas, I think he’s been an amazing teammate 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,” summed up Hamilton, who then added that he has no trouble whatsoever with Russell, as well, after reports of ‘less talks’ since the Brit’s run in Sakhir GP.
“My relation with George is 100% still intact and it is exactly the same following the Sakhir performance,” said Hamilton. “We messaged after his incident at Imola, and I hope you can see from the message I put on, I’m supportive of him. 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.”
Amid the Spanish GP press conference, the 2021 Laureus Awards results were declared, where Hamilton was named the first recipient of ‘Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year’. The Brit received the award for his active participation in bringing change through sports, especially regarding the global racism problem.
Here’s the video of Lewis Hamilton talking about the award – although he missed out on the World Sporstmen of the Year to Rafael Nadal, while Mercedes lost the Team of the Year award to Bayern Munich:
Here’s George Russell on Lewis Hamilton
Here’s news on Laureus nomination