Lewis Hamilton gives honest Valterri Bottas verdict despite Mercedes rivalry

Lewis Hamilton believes fellow Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas ‘doesn’t get the credit he deserves’. Both men race for Mercedes and have enjoyed a fine rivalry in recent years. But that hasn’t stopped the Brit from hailing his team-mate.

Hamilton has won six F1 Drivers Championships over the years and is closing in on win No 7 in 2020.

Bottas, meanwhile, is yet to win the prize throughout his career – but pressed Hamilton close since signing for Mercedes from Williams back in 2017.

He’s currently second for the year, behind only Hamilton and ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

And Hamilton, speaking to the official Formula One website, has expressed a belief Bottas is underrated by many within the sport.

“I think Valtteri doesn’t get the credit that he’s due because he does an amazing job,” said the 35-year-old.

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“He’s an incredibly fast driver, and I think he’s better than a large portion of the field that are here – not only in his driving but also in his mental attitude and approach, because being a driver is not just about driving, it’s not just about practice.

“It’s about how you bring and elevate people around you, and he’s great at that.”

Hamilton has won 40 races since Bottas joined, with latter managing just nine in that time.

However, he often pushes his team-mate close in qualifying.

And Hamilton, when asked how he was often able to grab pole by the tiniest of margins from his team-mate, said: “When I look back on those times they were too close, and they weren’t good enough, because I believe that I have a certain amount of extra time in me.

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“But it’s honestly just never giving up, never believing that it’s over and just pushing to the limit, and trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a rush.

“When you go into practice, you’ve basically got a new puzzle, and pieces are all over the place, and you only have a select amount of time to put all the pieces of the puzzle into place.

“And when you get to qualifying, sometimes you have half the puzzle done, sometimes you have the whole thing done, sometimes you have less, and then you just have to throw it all together and hope it comes together.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton recently opened up on his 2013 move to Mercedes – and replacing Michael Schumacher.

“What’s really crazy, for me, is that I was brought in, ultimately, to replace Michael [Schumacher],” he told GP Fans.

“Which was such a strange position to be in because, obviously, I’d watched this man dominate the sport and achieve such great things and he was stopping and I was going to be taking his place.

“The guys that I worked with were his previous mechanics and engineers and what a privileged position to be in.”

He then added: “I knew that we would have a great engine because they had already started developing the engine before I’d even made my decision to join the team, before I’d signed the contract.

“I was able to go to the factory, I knew what Mercedes was doing.

“I knew that McLaren was coming out of contract with Mercedes and I knew that I wanted to be with Mercedes-Benz because it’s such an iconic brand and they were so passionate about what they wanted to achieve.”

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