“That makes the championship more exciting”– Lewis Hamilton speaks about the importance of Valtteri Bottas with him in Mercedes.
The hostility between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg peaked in 2016 when the two drivers even refused to see each other in the eye. But with Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes has passed that stage.
However, with reports of George Russell replacing the Finn race driver, Hamilton has backed Bottas’ extension. He also spoke about his rivalry with Max Verstappen is enjoyable, but equally toxic when it’s within the team.
“[It]is much more enjoyable,” Hamilton told the official Formula 1 YouTube channel. “I think when you’re having an internal battle because this sport is it’s different to other sports, right? If you look at football, everyone’s working towards the same goal.
“This sports kind of confused because you have to drive two championships, you have a team championship, where the two drivers are hired to score points for the team to win the championship..that’s the priority.”
“And then individually, you have the two drivers that selfishly want to win the championship. So you’ve got this, this battle of tension. And yeah, when you’re working against the guy opposite you, it’s much different to working with that person and fighting another team.”
“And that’s what makes.. I feel that that makes better racing. That makes the championship more exciting when it’s a team against team rather than internal.”
It’s more intense than Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari
Furthermore, Hamilton also reminisced the battles he had with former Ferrari and now Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, and for the Briton, his battle with Verstappen is closer to those days.
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“I feel like we had this sort of battle with if I’m honest, it feels very similar to what we had with Vettel and Ferrari and maybe it’s even closer than that. When you’re growing up, and you’re in karting, you have these wheel to wheel battles every day, every weekend.
“So it’s great to see that we were having these close, tight knit battles. Those guys are a little bit ahead at the moment. And so we’ve got a massive challenge to try and just make sure we bring maximum.. capitalise on any of their weak moments if they ever have any.”
“And really just trying to extract the best of each and every single one of us in the team.”