F1: Hamilton and Bottas take the W12 Mercedes around Bahrain
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Lewis Hamilton confirmed Toto Wolff has spoken to him about pairing Valtteri Bottas or George Russell with the Brit next season. Mercedes are set to make their decision on their 2022 line-up public in the next few weeks, with Bottas or Russell of Williams the options to partner Hamilton.
F1 is returning from its four-week summer break for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, with Hamilton currently holding an eight-point lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes lead Red Bull by 12 points – and Hamilton revealed he had spoken to team principal Wolff about their plans for next season.
“I’ve obviously been vocal in the past of my loyalty to Valtteri, and worked incredibly closely with him,” the seven-time world champion said. “I think our working relationship is better than ever.
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“Toto’s a great leader, and as I’ve said in the past, we always stay connected. Of course, we talk about these things.
“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.”
Hamilton admitted that while he continues to praise Bottas and his contribution to Mercedes’ success over the last few years, he will support the German manufacturer regardless of the direction they go in for 2022.
“At the end of the day, it’s just down to [Wolff] and the board at Mercedes to make that decision,” Hamilton added.
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“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.”
Hamilton and Mercedes have seemingly overcome the blip earlier in the season that handed Verstappen and Red Bull the championship lead.
With fans and critics alike believing Red Bull currently have the better car, Hamilton suggested that Mercedes have clearly improved in the last few races.
“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.”
Hamilton and Mercedes return to on-track action at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29.
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