Valtteri Bottas talks about driving alongside Lewis Hamilton

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have been team-mates at Mercedes since 2017. The Finn explains if driving alongside the six-time champion is the toughest job in F1.

Before Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017, Hamilton has won the world title with the team two times already. Since then the Briton went on to win three more titles in succession. Bottas was asked if racing against such an accomplished driver in the same team presented a challenge.

“Against Lewis, yeah for sure, it’s a great challenge,” said the Finn.

“If you look at his record he is pretty impressive and I know it’s tough to beat him, but I also know I can do it.

“Is it the toughest job in F1? I still get to be in the best car and have the opportunity every weekend to win the race — it’s there for me to get — so that’s why it makes it a bit easier.

“I don’t mind working hard for it because you know there is going to be a reward if it goes well. I think it’s a good place to be.

“I think we are both pretty respectful drivers and rarely unpredictable. I think there is good respect against each other and I think the way we both race is quite similar and it’s about the better man winning.

“You just need to be able to take the right risk to get the overtake or earn the possibility to overtake.”

Bottas is currently one of Hamilton’s two main title rivals, so it’s natural that Mercedes had to establish a code of conduct to prevent their drivers from taking each other out.

“There were certain things that we want to avoid happening like a first corner crash or first lap crashes. So we always have good respect but we are allowed to race hard.

“We need to respect each other but I’m sure if there is a shunt the team will be reacting very quickly to that.”

Still, the Finn’s main focus is winning the world title.

“I think I’m very hungry for results and that makes me work hard with the team. I know he works hard as well, but I try to work harder.

“In my driving I am all the time making some really good steps forward with my driving style and pace, and especially race pace this year. It’s now about getting clean weekends.”

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Mercedes recently announced that they have extended Bottas’ contract until the end of 2021. Despite racing on one-year contracts since joining the team, the Finn is aware that a Mercedes seat provides him with the best opportunity to win the world title.

“By being with this team next year I know I will get half an opportunity to win the title and that is all that I need.

“Sometimes it’s good to look short-term and it can be good for long-term. If I want to win the title, this is the team to be it, so if it’s one year I’ll take it. It’s normal already, so it’s fine.”

“At the moment I feel like I am about to peak in terms of my performance, so I feel like I can still go quite long.

“But also during this unusual year, in those two or three months before we started to race, it was nice to realise there is other life than Formula One.

“I’m a man who knows that simple things can make me really happy, so it was nice to see F1 is not everything in life, although it is still the main thing for me.

“But it was nice to see that there are things in the future that I will be very happy to do.

“For me winning is still everything and winning is important. But also I just realised that one day, eventually, when it is time to do something else than Formula One, I will be fine.

“It is nice to feel,” concluded Bottas.

You can read the full interview with Valtteri on ESPN’s website.

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