“You don’t learn to be Lewis Hamilton’s box mate on the internet or in books”. Like this Mika Hakkinen he took the defense of one of his compatriots. Starting from 2017 Valtteri Bottas had the honor and the burden of defending the colors of Mercedes in F1 alongside the very English champion. The Finn was the driver chosen by Toto Wolff to replace Nico Rosberg, who surprisingly retired after winning the world title in 2016. Since then Bottas in Mercedes has achieved nine F1 victories, finishing second in the drivers’ standings in 2019 and 2020. The 1989 class has so far proved perfect in securing points in the constructors’ standings and in helping Lewis Hamilton when necessary.
In recent years Bottas has always snatched confirmation for the following year, but this time the candidacy of George Russell seems difficult to reject, even if the Scandinavian can count on the endorsement of Lewis Hamilton. Even Mika Hakkinen if he were in the role of Toto Wolff would have no doubts about who to choose between Bottas and Russell: “What Mercedes has achieved in the years in which Hamilton and Bottas have shared the garage is difficult to match. – the words of Hakkinen reached by the German broadcaster RTL – Bottas is criticized too much, is a brilliant driver. Being talented isn’t enough to ride alongside champions of the caliber of Lewis Hamilton. I am sure that Bottas’ prices are much higher inside Mercedes than one might think ”.
The two-time world champion with McLaren in 1998 and 1999 also highlighted that Bottas makes a difference compared to Perez in Red Bull: “At Red Bull right now it all depends on Max. I’m sorry for Perez, who I think is an excellent driver, but he has to file at least two tenths of the gap that currently separates him from Verstappen “.