“It’s not easy being my team-mate”- Lewis Hamilton elucidates why Valtteri Bottas faces a huge gap in points against him this season.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas race in every Grand Pix in the same car, but why always Hamilton stands tall, the answer was given by Carlos Sainz a few weeks ago.
“90% would probably win races and pole positions at Mercedes. But if you put half the field against Hamilton in a Mercedes, 90% wouldn’t beat him.” said the Spaniard and that is the case with Bottas, in short hamilton is the greatest F1 driver of this generation.
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However, the Briton has a separate analogy for this gap between the two, as he credited Bottas’ more than anything while giving due recognition to his consistency across this season too.
“The media have commented on ‘[Bottas] 2.0’ and it’s so true,” Hamilton said. “Every year you can see him just grafting away, chipping away at trying to raise the bar in so many different areas.
“You’ve seen this year, while yes, the points gap now is where it is, if you look at a lot of the qualifying [sessions], it was the smallest of margins. So closing the gap in qualifying, he has done already, which has made it quite challenging.
“In race trim, naturally, you can see obviously the consistency that I’ve had this year has [been] really what’s made the difference. But if you look at the race weekends, it was so close.
“Of course there’s a points gap of seven points [between P1 and P2] and that consistently that over a period of time [adds up]. Valtteri has also been unfortunate this year with the reliability issues, so it makes it [the points gap] look even bigger than it is.”
Which is true, Bottas faced a series of unfortunate incidents, which made him lose on crucial points, a late tyre failure at the British Grand Prix that caused him to finish 11th. Damage caused in Monza made him end 5th.
A power unit issued caused Bottas to retire at the Nurburgring despite leading the early phase of the race, and damage in Turkey following a first-lap clash with Esteban Ocon, contributing to his 14th-place finish.
Respect for Bottas’ spirit but it’s not easy being my team-mate- Lewis Hamilton
Further, Hamilton emphasized on the improvements made by Bottas and how he got nearer to the World Champion, which has apparently made his job tougher, but at the same time admitted he himself was way too consistent this season.
“When I talk about people needing to give Valtteri his due respect, I think you’ve got to remember who he’s driving up against,” Hamilton said.
“It’s not easy being my team-mate. But he comes in every weekend in, weekend out, with just the same mentality. He’s never moaning, complaining that something is wrong with the car. It’s always just: ‘I’ve got to do a better job’.
“I don’t know any other driver that does that here, and I think that’s something we share in common, I’d like to think. We come into these weekends with a fresh head, and I think, mentally, he’s one of the strongest drivers here.”