Lewis Hamilton has conceded that being his team-mate “is not easy” and that Valterri Bottas deserves high praise for his efforts alongside him this year.
Hamilton has dominated the second Mercedes driver this season, winning 10 races to Bottas’ two, but the seven-time title winner claims he has been impressed with the Finn’s determination to forget and fight on, time and again.
When asked about Bottas’ performances, Hamilton said: “Valtteri is due respect. I think you’ve got to remember who he’s driving up against. It’s not easy being my team-mate.
“He comes in weekend-in, weekend-out, with the same mentality, never moaning, complaining ‘Something’s wrong with the car’, it’s just ‘I’ve got to do a better job’.
“I don’t know any other driver who does that here. I think mentally he is one of the strongest drivers.”
Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 and scored 307 points in his first season, collecting almost 83 per cent of Hamilton’s 370-point total.
Despite finishing runner-up twice he has not been that close since, achieving 61 per cent of Hamilton’s points in 2018, 79 per cent in 2019 but only 64 per cent so far this season, scoring just 197 compared to Hamilton’s 307-point haul.
Despite those statistics, Hamilton believes Bottas is getting “stronger and stronger” each year and says the fine margins between the pair in qualifying have made his life tougher this season.
The pair have continued to fight hard and fair and Hamilton added: “Every year you can see him just grafting away, chipping away at trying to raise the bar in so many different areas.
“We’ve seen this year, I think, a lot of the qualifying it was just small margins. Closing the gap in qualifying has made it quite challenging. He already did last year, but even more so this year.
“If you look at the race weekends, it was so close, but of course the gap [between first and second] is seven points and then that consistently over a period time… Valterri was also unfortunate this year with some of the issues, so the gap is bigger.”
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