Valtteri Bottas has opened up on the difficulties of being team-mates with six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton in newly-released footage. The Finn linked up with Mercedes ahead of the 2017 campaign following Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire after securing the World Drivers’ Championship title.
Bottas has managed to get the better of Hamilton on several occasions since then, winning seven Grands Prix in total.
The 28-year-old’s achievements pale in comparison to those of Hamilton, though, with the Brit topping the drivers’ standings in each of their three seasons together.
Speaking on Netflix’s newly-released second series of Drive to Survive, Bottas has opened up on what it’s like to be team-mates with one of F1’s greatest ever drivers.
“To be in the same team with Lewis, to be honest, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, because he is pretty quick, you know,” Bottas said, while smiling. “He’s tough – tough to beat.”
Bottas and Hamilton will be eager for a repeat of last year’s showing when they kick off the 2020 F1 campaign at next week’s Australian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo secured a one-two for the Silver Arrows in Melbourne 12 months ago as they set the ball rolling towards a dominant season.
Bottas has, however, been forced to play second fiddle to Hamilton numerous times over the past few years and he has admitted that’s not something he relishes doing.
“There was many difficult things to accept in terms of in which kind of role I had to be in the team,” Bottas said. “Sometimes in a more like supportive role but it’s difficult.
“The only thing I want to do as a driver is win the race. When Lewis beats me it’s like turning a knife in me. People can think whatever they want to. I’m here to win.”
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Bottas’ quality is not lost on Toto Wolff, though, with the Mercedes team principal describing him as “an extremely talented racing driver” who is “performing on a very high level.”
Mercedes have faced calls to ditch Bottas for the past two winters, with former reserve driver Esteban Ocon tipped to take the seat alongside Hamilton.
But Wolff has hinted the former Williams driver will not be going anywhere, with his role vital to Mercedes hopes going forward.
Wolff said: “It was a very conscious decision to take Valtteri on board.”
Practice ahead of next Sunday’s race at the Albert Park Circuit will start on Friday, with qualifying the following day.
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