Hungarian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton says that Valtteri Bottas was a ‘supportive’ teammate that helped him to the victory at the Hungaroring.
Hamilton won the race at the tight Hungaroring circuit on Sunday, coming home ahead almost twenty seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. This was after a slow pitstop saw Vettel come out behind Bottas who then acted as a roadblock against the two Ferraris; Vettel being armed with fresh UltraSofts was powerless to get past Bottas, despite the Finn using considerably older Soft tyres.
However, the length of Bottas’ tyre stint meant he ran out of grip in the closing stages and Vettel eventually found a way past into Turn 2, before Bottas hit the back of the Ferrari. The only damage was to the Mercedes as he fell down to P4 behind Kimi Raikkonen. Now into the clutches of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, another collision saw Bottas penalised ten seconds and given two penalty points on his superlicence.
While Bottas said afterwards that he saw ‘zero positives’ from his race, Toto Wolff praised Bottas for being a ‘sensational wingman’ – comments that Bottas initially said ‘hurt’.
Taking to social media after the race, Lewis Hamilton also praised Bottas. Both men recently signed contract extensions at Mercedes, meaning they will be teammates for at least one more season.
“Finally sat down and I would like to give thanks and praise to Valtteri Bottas.” said Hamilton. Without his great drive, the team may not have won today, would have been very tight at the end. But, thanks to his fight, he helped enable us to come away with three more points as a team than Ferrari.”
“Don’t forget, the priority for the team team is to win the race and the team championship. So today he played a key role. As for me, he ultimately helped me in being supportive as a teammate which I want to acknowledge. Huge respect between us.'”
Heading into the summer shutdown, Mercedes lead the Constructor’s Championship by ten points, while Hamilton enjoys a twenty four point margin over Sebastian Vettel after his calamitous error in Germany. Hamilton says that he feels Ferrari still have the pace advantage: “We’ve definitely had ups and downs in this Championship, it’s such a rollercoaster ride – but the team has just remained strong. We’re in a great position right now, but what’s important is that we don’t drop the ball. The last two weekends have been such a blessing with the rain, I’m so grateful.”
“The guys have worked so hard this year, they really deserve a good result. There’s still a lot of work to do because Ferrari are still slightly ahead of us, they had the pace this weekend, especially on this circuit. Today I had them covered, but had they been on pole, we would have struggled. So we’ve got some improvements to make in our overall package to try and close the gap to them, but I’m really happy with the job everyone’s done so far, we just have to keep going. The goal is now to really pull together and become even stronger for the second half. That will be key to add to what we’ve built in this first half of the season. I’m excited about the summer break; I will do different stuff over these two weeks, but I will be training through the whole period of time, trying to improve my physique.”
“Physicality-wise, I’m not struggling out there at all, but there are always areas where you can be better, and I want to make sure I come back with more energy so we can turn up the heat in the second half of the season.”