Bottas says “it is too early” for him to play Hamilton’s ‘wingman’

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Valtteri Bottas discusses his relationship with Mercedes, his French GP radio outburst and playing a supporting role for Lewis Hamilton.

At the Styrian Grand Prix Thursday press conference Valtteri Bottas was asked if there had been any talk about him supporting Lewis Hamilton in his bid to become the 2021 world champion.

“We haven’t had any discussion about that,” the Finn said.

“I think it is too early. Everyone needs to remember there are still 16 races to go so there have been no discussions about that and I don’t think so at this point.”

Bottas also discussed his radio outburst at the French Grand Prix and addressed rumours that his relationship with Mercedes has become tumultuous.

“I can be very direct on that, that perception is completely false. We have a good relationship with the team. There are no issues. Those kind of situations, they’re normal.

“I’m sure that not all the things have been broadcast in the past, and what has brought us this far as a team has always been being direct, and has always being honest on your feelings, and if you feel there is a place for improvement.

“So it’s nothing new, and everything is good.”

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was complimentary of the outburst and said he was glad the Finn was showing more fire.

“I’m glad if he liked it, but I wasn’t that happy obviously in that situation,” explained Bottas.

“But that’s racing, that’s emotions. It’s so hard to describe the feeling when you’re in the car. We’re not at a tea party, we’re in an elite top sport.

“I want to do well, I want the team to do well. There are emotions, even for a Finn.”

With Mercedes still deciding on their 2022 lineup, Bottas acknowledges it is nothing new to him, because he has been on one-year contracts since he started with the team in 2017.

“Everyone knows how this sport works: if you make results, you will earn your place where you deserve to be.

“If you don’t make results, and the team feels like they need to change the driver, then they’ll change the driver. It’s very simple in this sport.

“Again, I’m just going back that there’s 16 races to go. The team knows what I’m capable of, they know how valuable I’ve been in the recent years of getting the championship, etc.

“It’s not yet time for those discussions. We’re now in the beginning of the triple header, that’s the focus now, and I’m sure in the off weeks we’ll have time to discuss when it’s going to be the time.

“But that’s the situation, and that’s where I’m at. I need to try and maximise. It’s simple,” concluded the Finn.

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