F1: Hamilton and Bottas take the W12 Mercedes around Bahrain
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Valtteri Bottas wants to help his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton become world champion one more time in his final few months before leaving. The Finn has announced he will join Alfa Romeo in 2022, but remains fully focussed on the job he still has left to do for his current employer.
Max Verstappen held on to the early lead he built up to win the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday, leapfrogging Hamilton once again at the top of the standings.
But it was better news for Mercedes in the constructors’ table as, by finishing second and third respectively, Hamilton and Bottas made sure their team scored more points than Red Bull to extend their slender lead at the top.
While Bottas has found it difficult to win races – he is yet to stand on the top step of the podium this season – his point-scoring consistency will be key if Mercedes are to fend off the challenge of their rivals.
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The Finn said he is excited to begin “a new chapter” with Alfa Romeo in 2022, but made it clear he remains focussed on the job he has to do for the final nine races of the current campaign.
He said: “Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula 1 history and it’s going to be an honour to represent this marque.
“The potential of the setup in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.
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“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins.
“I know Fred [Vasseur] well and I am looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team I am going to work with, building relationships as strong as the ones I have at Mercedes.
“I am proud of what I have achieved in Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another world championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year.”
Fred Vasseur said Bottas is “the right driver” to help a team which has struggled so far this season to adapt to new regulations introduced next season and to push the team further up the field.
“Our relationship goes back a long way, to when we worked together in successful campaigns in F3 and GP3, and his talent and skills have been evident ever since, only growing with the time,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team.”
Bottas replaces fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa, who has announced his impending retirement 20 years after he made his F1 debut.
The identity of his future team-mate is not yet know, with current racer Antonio Giovinazzi’s future unclear.
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