Valtteri Bottas: “I’m feeling very much part of the team”


Valtteri Bottas feels settled in at Mercedes after the first eleven races of 2017 - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Valtteri Bottas feels like part of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and the way that he and Lewis Hamilton switched places during the Hungarian Grand Prix shows the relationship between the two drivers is strong.

The Finn allowed Hamilton to pass him without delay to allow the Briton to attack the two front-running Scuderia Ferrari drivers, but when it became clear that a move was not going to come off, the two drivers switched positions again, gifting Bottas the podium finish.

Bottas believes the team can rely on both drivers to maximise the best result possible, and eleven races into his Mercedes career, he feels pleased with how he has fit in with the German outfit.

“For sure, having done now 11 races with the team definitely you are more part of the team than after just a couple of races,” said Bottas. “I’m feeling very much part of the team. The team-mate relationship with have with Lewis is really good.

“It was a perfect example of what you can do when you have that trust, when you have that respect within team-mates.

“The team can really rely on both of you to try things like this today. It’s only going to get better.”

With Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen closing in on him during the latter stages of the Hungarian race, Bottas did admit he was wondering if the switch of position with Hamilton would be possible, and it came with a little relief that the final lap saw the switch happen.

“I think when it was two laps to go I asked: ‘When are we going to do the swap?’” admitted Bottas. “The team said that I just have to get a bit of a gap to Max and we’ll do it at the end, and so we did.

“I was trusting the team. They told me at the beginning that if I let him go and he can’t do it, we’ll swap. When the team say something like that, it’s going to happen. Max was not far behind with a fresh set of tyres, so that made it even more tricky. We managed to do it in the end. I’m really glad.

“We know that, for sure, it’s not easy for Lewis to give up a podium place on the last lap, but that was kind of the deal, and really respect for that. Not every team-mate would do that, I think. That shows that Lewis is a real team player as well.

“As a team we tried to maximise with that kind of swapping, we unfortunately couldn’t gain anything. But we tried, and it was the right thing to do.”