There have been rumours going on that Valtteri Bottas might be replaced mid-season due to his inability to perform. The Finn is currently 37 points behind championship leader and teammate Lewis Hamilton and fourth in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton, however, has defended Bottas claiming that he is an “amazing team mate”.
The rumours started after a Mercedes engineer anonymously claimed “some unrest” in the Mercedes factory and that Bottas could be replaced by Williams driver George Russell.
“I feel like we have the best line-up currently, in terms of the equilibrium that’s within our team,” Hamilton told reporters at the Spanish Grand Prix on Thursday.
“At some stage it’s going to change, I’m not going to be here forever, Valtteri won’t be here forever but right now I think he’s delivered time and time again over the years and he continues to.
“Valtteri qualified on pole last race. It’s only the fourth race (this weekend). I think people need to give him a break and just let him focus on doing what he’s doing.”
Bottas was also asked about the rumors of him expected to be replaced. He was confident that the rumors were not true and even went on to take a dig at rivals Red Bull who have been known to replace drivers.
“I know that I’m not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” he said.
“As a team, we don’t do that. I have a contract for this year and I think there’s only one team that does that kind of thing in F1 and we’re not that (team).
“So no pressure from my side and I know how things are. There’s always bulls**t around, that’s part of the sport.”
When Bottas was asked if he will continue with Mercedes in the next season, he said he was not sure.
“I don’t know. It’s early days. I haven’t thought about it really,” he said. “At the moment, I don’t care. I’m just focusing on this year.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had recognized that Bottas’ performance was hampered during the race in Portugal after a car sensor failure.
“We let him down with the engine that went into a safety mode,” said Wolff in Portugal.
“Like many times it could have worked for Valtteri and we were pushing hard and continue to support him and see what he is capable of doing in Barcelona.”
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