Valtteri Bottas has denied any suggestion he’s being used by Mercedes as a pawn to help team-mate Lewis Hamilton win his eighth world title this season, admitting it’s “too early” to have those discussions with the team.
Bottas has been outperformed by Hamilton ever since the Finn partnered with the world champion back in 2017, after the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg.
Since then, the Finn has become an integral part of the Mercedes set-up, helping the team to a further four world titles, with his team-mate Hamilton snatching the driver’s title every year too.
However, this season, with the double threat of championship leader Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for Red Bull, Bottas has dismissed any talk he is being used as a ‘wingman’ for Hamilton.
He said: “We haven’t had any discussions about that, I think it’s too early you know.
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Bottas finished off the podium in fourth but clawed his way back up to fifth in the driver’s standings for Mercedes.
However, speaking ahead of the first of two races in Austria, Bottas said the radio outburst was completely normal, and when asked if the suggestions that his relationship was becoming somewhat fractious, he replied: “I can be very direct in that, that perception is completely false.
“I have a good relationship with the team, and there are no issues.
“Those kinds of situations, they’re normal – I’m sure not all the things were being broadcast in the past, and what has brought us this far as a team is always being direct and being honest with your feelings, and if you feel there’s a place for improvement.”
“So it’s nothing news, and we’re all good.”
Hamilton is looking to claw back the lead of the championship this weekend at the Styrian GP, with Verstappen leading the way by 12 points.