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Former Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas has issued a defiant show of support to Lewis Hamilton after Red Bull boss Helmut Marko suggested the Brit leads a ‘media-loving life’. Bottas departed Mercedes to replace 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo following the Finn’s retirement.
He will partner Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo from next season onwards.
During his time at Mercedes, Bottas was hailed for his selflessness, teamwork and performance as the Silver Arrows claimed all five Constructors’ Championships alongside Hamilton.
When asked what he learned from his time competing and working with the seven-time world champion, Bottas spoke positively.
“I’ve been in a position that I’ve got to know Lewis pretty well as a human being as well, not just a Formula 1 champion, and learned that he fully deserves everything he achieved,” Bottas told GPFans.
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“He’s got the talent, but then he puts that into good use and he works really hard.
“Obviously, his lifestyle is also different in a way that, he might be in New York just a day before the race weekend, whatever, doing other things.
“But when he is in his working mode and in this Formula 1 mode, he’s never leaving any stone unturned and he’s always pushing the team a lot.
“I feel like in the last few years, he’s been more in a lead role, and for me, it’s been quite difficult to try and take a lead role, because he’s been, obviously, here before and he’s pretty dominant in the way he works with a team.
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“Also, setting up the car for sure, I’ve learned a few things, but also many [other] things.”
Bottas’ comments come after Red Bull’s Marko took a swipe at Hamilton, suggesting the Brit ‘loves’ the media attention in contrast to the ‘down to earth’ Max Verstappen.
The Finn dispelled such suggestions by listing what he learned from Hamilton – but he insisted it wasn’t a one-way street.
“Many times he had to copy my setup for the qualifying last minute,” Bottas added.
“Driving style-wise, tyre management is one of his big strengths, and in any condition and circumstances, he always finds a way, how to be able to extend a stint or the best way to efficiently keep the tyres in a good condition.
“That race pace and tyre management part has probably been the biggest difference between me and Lewis and consistency is what he’s had with those things.”
F1 will return in 2022 for pre-season testing on February 23 before the opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.
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