I doubt Valtterin Bottas needed a glowing endorsement from his teammate nor, I doubt, did he ask for one but regardless, it’s very nice to get from a 3-time world champion.
Lewis Hamilton has thrown his support behind the Finn saying that he believes Valtteri should get a long-term deal at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team.
“I think he’s earned his right and his place within the Mercedes family for the long term,” said Hamilton of his team-mate.
“Mercedes generally is the only team as far as I’m aware in motorsport that really embraces the individuals that they work with.
“And particularly as drivers, you become part of the family for the rest of your life.
“And he’s earned the right and his place within that.
“He’s doing a great job and he’ll continue to grow.
“It’s only his first year within this team and he’s already won a grand prix, and got great points for the team.
“He’ll go from strength to strength and continue to get stronger. He just needs the opportunity to be able to do so.”
That’s a ringing endorsement and I have no reason to contradict what I think has been a good first season so far for Valtteri. Now let me play devil’s advocate for a moment.
There was some misconstrued stories of Lewis Hamilton speaking about retiring after the season ends and Lewis walked that commentary back. I’m not sure what Lewis may or may not be thinking in terms of his life in F1 but if Sebastian Vettel beats him to the title this year and Lewis is contemplating other things, there is a certain Spaniard who isn’t ready to hang up the gloves and is driving at the top of his game in the form of Fernando Alonso and we all know he’s looking for a winning car.
Would Mercedes look to Alonso as a replacement for Valtteri? Is that adding another intra-team battle between teammates like Rosberg/Hamilton showed us? Talk of McLaren moving to Mercedes power units in 2018 continues but what if Fernando wanted to eliminate the middle man and go directly to Merc? Would Toto Wolff gamble on that or has he been told by friends at Ferrari what working with Alonso is/isn’t?
I can’t see Lewis going anywhere but if Alonso ended up at Mercedes, it would be a serious 1, 2 punch for competitors. That would be the toughest driver lineup on the grid and at some level, Wolff has to be thinking that as well but he also has to think about team harmony and perhaps Valtteri is the best for that issue at the moment.
Hat Tip: Autosport