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Hamilton hints at key to Bottas' 2019 form

Hamilton hints at key to Bottas' 2019 form

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Hamilton hints at key to Bottas' 2019 form

Hamilton hints at key to Bottas' 2019 form

Lewis Hamilton pinpointed changes in his and Valtteri Bottas' engineering teams as a crucial factor in the Finn's excellent start to the Formula 1 season. Bottas leads the drivers' championship by a point from his Mercedes team-mate after four straight Silver Arrows one-two finishes.

Bottas' previous race engineer Tony Ross has departed Mercedes' F1 programme for the company's upcoming entry into Formula E.

Riccardo Musconi, formerly Hamilton's performance engineer, has filled the void left by Ross, guiding Bottas to victories in Australia and Azerbaijan, putting memories of a winless 2018 formly to rest.

"Every year he starts out strong," Hamilton said of his team-mate. "He has done again and I think his goal will be to extend that throughout the year. So it's not been a surprise.

"This year he has my No.2 engineer, so my second engineer for the last two years has been promoted to head engineer for him and so that will be a nice helping hand and he is learning a lot from that.

"That's to be expected the little bit of a step he's taken. I've got a new [performance] engineer and we are working really well together but it takes time to build relationships with people and to continue to grow.

"So when you take one away, whatever element you take away, initially it's not as strong as something you have built over six years.

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"We are building back to being stronger and trumping that and it's only been four races, so watch this space."

Bottas confirmed that the changes to his team may have contribute to his stellar start to the season.

He said: "I have a new engineering team completely, race and performance engineer, and whenever you have new people around it makes you think about some things differently.

"It can open up some new routes on the set-up and the direction. It has started really well.

"We have been learning a lot as an engineering team all the time and it's getting better and better. So far, so good."

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