AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
VALTTERI Bottas has had a staggering start to his Formula 1 season and its raising a few eyebrows.
The Finnish driver has so far failed to beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the first four races, even after qualifying in pole position at Portimao, but coming in third place after 66 laps.
Bottas’ current contract with Mercedes-AMG F1 ends after the current season, with his future becoming a regular topic, particularly considering the rise of performance by Mercedes junior driver George Russell – specifically his performance in Sakhir.
“It’s early days – I haven’t thought really about next year,” he said. “As I’ve said earlier, my full focus is on here and now, because that is all that matters and that will normally bring a good future.
“So, I have no idea, and at the moment I don’t care: I’m just focusing on this year and putting every single thought and every single energy I have into that,” he concluded.
Bottas also hit back at critics on the suggestions that he could be replaced mid-season, hinting that a team like Red Bull would be the only type of team capable of pulling mid-season driver changes in recent years.
“I know that I am not going to be replaced in the middle of the season. As a team we do not do that. I have a contract for this year, and I think there is only one team that does that kind of thing in F1 and we are not that,” Bottas said.
“So no pressure from my side, as I know how things are.There is always bullshit around but that is part of the sport.”
Bottas has so far only accumulated 37 points behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton in fourth place, but the champion has defended his teammate, expressing that the critics needed to cut Bottas some slack.
“From what I’ve experienced, from the relationship of course that I have with Valterri, I think he’s been an amazing teammate as I’ve always said,” Hamilton said.
‘Look, at some stage it is going to shift, it is going to change. I’m not going to be here forever, Valterri won’t be here forever, but right now, I think we’ve delivered time and time again over the years, and we continue to.
“Valtteri just qualified on pole at the last race. It’s only the fourth race. I think people need to give him a break, and just let him focus on doing what he’s doing,” said Hamilton.