Hamilton backs Bottas for long-term Mercedes seat


Matthew Scott

Hamilton backs Bottas for long-term Mercedes seat

Lewis Hamilton sees no reason for Mercedes to change their driver line-up beyond 2019. After going through 2018 without a win, Valtteri Bottas' place alongside the five-time world champion is in serious doubt, with Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings as a reserve.

Bottas finished fifth in the drivers' championship last year and begins 2019 a long way down in the title pecking order according to bookmakers.

When asked what it is like to not be mentioned in the same breath as Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and even Charles Leclerc, Bottas said in Melbourne: "For me it's not a problem.

"I don't care what people are talking about and I don't even know.

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"There is always talk, but I don't want to waste a single drop of my energy thinking about it. I will just focus on my performances this year and the things that matter."

For his part, Hamilton seems happy to keep Bottas rather than swap him as teammate for 2020 with the highly rated Frenchman Ocon.

"Continuity is what works," the reigning champion said in Melbourne.

"We have a great pairing and I think the combination of Valtteri and me together has worked well for years and there's no reason to change it.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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