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TOTO WOLFF believes Lewis Hamilton is linked to Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes struggles ahead of his departure.

 

 

 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has hinted that Lewis Hamilton has been the source of Valtteri Bottas’ struggles ahead of his departure – because of just how good the Briton is. Bottas will leave Mercedes for Alfa Romeo next month after four years, switching one-year deals at Williams and his current team for a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

The Finnish racer has helped Hamilton dominate the F1 grid since his 2017 arrival, finishing as runner-up in the Drivers’ World Championship in the past two years.

 

 

However, he has never mounted a challenge in the same ilk Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has this season.
Bottas has undoubtedly supported Hamilton’s pursuit of the all-time world title record, though, with the Briton now just one away from surpassing Michael Schumacher’s seven.

 

 

And with Hamilton currently trailing Verstappen with two races left this season, Mercedes have decided to freshen up the team for next year.

 

 

After Bottas failed to impress in the first 11 races of the 2021 season, Mercedes confirmed George Russell will replace him as Hamilton’s team-mate in 2022.

 

 

 

But Bottas has suggested his improved performances after the decision could be down to him shaking off the pressure over his Mercedes future.
He said: “Toto thinks pressure is good for me. I agree, pressure for a certain length of time is good and can get more out of you.

 

 

 

“But if you have pressure contractually for nine years of your Formula 1 career, year by year, it starts to eat you from inside, you know?”

In response, Wolff has admitted that driving with Hamilton, arguably the greatest F1 driver in history, has likely taken its toll on Bottas.
He told Motorsport.com (via F1i.com): “I think Valtteri has been in a pressure cooker since the beginning of his single-seater career.

 

 

“Would a multi-year contract have been better? In hindsight, you can always have a different opinion.
“I still think he’s a great guy and a fast driver. But I also think spending years with Lewis can put a lot of pressure on him.”

 

Despite being Hamilton’s wingman at Mercedes, Wolff believes Bottas is unbeatable when he showcases his ‘sheer speed’, citing his Turkish Grand Prix victory in October as proof.

 

“The sheer speed is there, and when the sheer speed kicks in with Valtteri, nobody can beat him. Look at Turkey,” Wolff added.

 

 

“But sometimes there are oscillations, and I wonder if it’s due to pressure or anything else.
“Maybe it’s the consequence of having Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time World Champion, as a teammate. There is nobody else in the 100-win club, he is the only one.”

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