“He is what I would call a compliant teammate”– Former McLaren driver John Watson explains why Lewis Hamilton prefers Valtteri Bottas.
Amidst the battle between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas for the second Mercedes seat, Lewis Hamilton has subtly shown his inclination towards his current teammate Bottas.
Reflecting on this, former McLaren driver John Watson has discussed why Hamilton prefers the Finn race driver over the “young lion” Russell.
“My thoughts are that Lewis would like to keep Bottas, because he is what I would call a compliant teammate,” Watson told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview.
“What he doesn’t want is [to be paired with] someone like George, who did a stunning job last year in Bahrain. Lewis is in a position of great authority and power within the Mercedes team, within the Mercedes family.
“There is a very good reason behind why Lewis was prepared to have Bottas. If you bring in a young lion like George, who I think is outstanding….”
“I’ve seen over the years where you bring in two drivers who then end up fighting each other in the championship, you open the door to another team.”
“I think that, at the end of the day, Mercedes will keep Bottas, simply because it’s a known commodity.”
George Russell would need to play the team game
With Bottas already being the docile half of Mercedes, it is unknown how Russell would keep his approach, so that is what helping in Bottas’ case. Watson implies that Russell has to play as a teammate to get his seat.
“I’d love to see George in a Mercedes,” added Watson, who finished third in the 1982 championship with McLaren. “But if that was going to be the case, George would have to accept that he will have to play second fiddle to Lewis, in any time they were together.”