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Bottas stepping out of Hamilton's shadow "an important step" in his F1 career

Bottas stepping out of Hamilton's shadow "an important step" in his F1 career

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Bottas stepping out of Hamilton's shadow "an important step" in his F1 career

Bottas stepping out of Hamilton's shadow "an important step" in his F1 career

Fred Vasseur feels stepping out of the shadow of Lewis Hamilton will serve Valtteri Bottas well as he moves into a team leader role with Alfa Romeo.

After five years with Mercedes, Bottas will move on following the upcoming season-ending double-header in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi to join Alfa Romeo after being handed the security of a multi-year deal.

The Finn will take up the mantle of spearheading the team into F1's new era given the aerodynamic redesign of the cars from next season, and with a rookie in Guanyu Zhou as his team-mate.

Vasseur maintains "part of the discussion" when he sat down with Bottas to mull over a potential move centred on the 32-year-old being team leader.

"It’s quite natural when you are the team-mate of Lewis, you are a little bit in the shadow of your team-mate," assessed Vasseur.

"With us, he will be a strong pillar of the performance of the development of the team. For him, I think it was an important step, and I’m really convinced that he will achieve in this position."

Zhou, meanwhile, joins Alfa Romeo after two years in F2, going from sixth in last year's standings to title contender this season, although has fallen 36 points adrift of leader Oscar Piastri with two rounds and six races remaining.

Vasseur feels for his first season in F1, Zhou will at least have an ideal reference in Bottas who will take with him to Alfa Romeo 10 years of experience in the sport.

"The [driver] combination is an important topic, that Valtteri is very experienced," added Vasseur.

"He’s doing very well. He's had a fantastic second part of the season this year and he will bring to the team his own experience.

"Alongside, we will have a rookie coming from the F2. It’s always important for the rookie to have a reference and with Valtteri, he will have one of the best references in the field."

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