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Bottas leaves Mercedes for Alfa Romeo

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

AFTER spending the past years playing second fiddle – “wingman” – to Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas is leaving to become the frontman at Alfa Romeo.

Bottas spent five years during which he helped Hamilton win the driver’s championship and Mercedes the constructors title. He will replace the legendary Kimi Raikonnen  -”The Flying Finn” – for the 2022 season. Raikonnen, whose career includes driving for Ferrari and Renault, is retiring from F1.

Bottas will be replaced by George Russell, whose seat at Williams is expected to be filled by Alexandra Albon.

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Bottas said while he is proud of what he achieved at Mercedes, happy with his new move, he remains focused on finishing the current season on top.

He said: “I am so proud of everything we have achieved together in my time with Mercedes – and it is not over yet, because we have our biggest challenge so far to try and claim our eighth constructors’ title.

“When I look back on my time with Mercedes, I want to be able to say that I squeezed every drop out of this opportunity and left nothing on the table; and I want to make sure that we finish our time together as champions. 

“It has been a privilege and a great sporting challenge to work with Lewis, and the harmony in our relationship played a big part in the constructors’ championships we won as teammates. Later this year, the time will come to say goodbye -that’s not for now, but I would like to thank Toto and the team for the respect in how we took the decision together.

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“I am really pleased to have chosen my new challenge with Alfa Romeo, an exciting and iconic manufacturer, and by the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid. I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and when the time comes, for wins. But for now, my mission is clear: maximum attack for Mercedes, all the way to the final lap in Abu Dhabi.”

Hamilton said he was immensely proud to have had Bottas as a teammate. 

Hamilton said: “Together, we have been part of a team that has delivered four Constructors Championships, and we have motivated one another to keep pushing through the ups and downs. He has been the best teammate I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

The 7th time world champion directed the rest of his message to Bottas: “Your speed and resilience has been impressive but where you truly stand out for me is the human being you are and a gentleman. You are greater than you know and I know there’s a bright future ahead of you. Thank you Valterri for all your support and amazing contributions to this team. You will be missed. I wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Let’s finish off stronger and get that for the team.”

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By The African Mirror

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