Bottas comments on gesture of respect with Hamilton at 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas is still friends with Sir Lewis Hamilton after the Finnish driver parted ways with Mercedes for Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has been a crucial part of one of the most dominant teams in all of Formula 1 history.

However, after five years at the Silver Arrows, the Finnish driver has his eyes set on a new challenge.

Bottas and his former team, Mercedes, parted ways after the final race of last season, bringing an end to a prolific partnership that brought the team five straight Constructors’ Championships between 2017 and 2021.

In September of last year, Alfa Romeo announced that Bottas will be a part of their driver line-up for the 2022 season, signing the 32-year-old driver on a multi-year deal.

Now, instead of driving alongside seven-time champion Sir Lewis Hamilton as his team-mate, Bottas will serve as a mentor to Chinese rookie driver Zhou Guanyu.

Bottas was asked how he feels about his relationship with his former team-mate Hamilton, and noted a gesture of respect between them at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

“After the [Bahrain Grand Prix], I drove past him on the in-lap and I heard he was on the podium, so I gave him a thumbs up and he did the same,” said the Finn in an interview with

“And we actually flew together after the race to Dubai. And we flew from Dubai to Saudi Arabia. So we’re still sharing flights. In a way, nothing has changed.”

Even though Bottas and Hamilton are not team-mates, they remain friends, as they achieved a substantial amount of accolades when racing together for Mercedes.

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“I think we just learned that, okay, racing is racing and outside of track it doesn’t matter,” Bottas said. “I think we both kind of got that yes, we’re racing against each other, but then, we can still share flights or do whatever.”

Bottas explains what he has learned driving in Formula 1, stating: “Obviously, I’ve learned how a championship-winning team works and what kind of mindset it needs. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork. I’ve learned a lot of technical knowledge.”

The Finnish driver went on to speak about the tribulations of racing and how he has grown as a person.

“Sometimes, I put too much pressure on myself,” Bottas said.

“I’ve had many ups and downs and learned how to bounce back, and I think it’s just made me a lot stronger person overall. I almost feel nothing can really shake me.”

At Alfa Romeo, Bottas feels that there’s a chance for a fresh start, as he finished the first race of the 2022 season in sixth place, scoring eight points.

Guanyu, meanwhile, had an impressive start to his F1 career, coming in at 10th and scoring a point.

Though there’s still a long season ahead of the Finnish driver, the race has shown that Bottas has the potential to bring Alfa Romeo its best season in years.

“It felt good,” Bottas said.

“Getting both cars into top 10 in our first race together was a great start. It gives a lot of courage and motivation that this project is real and the goals we have set can be achieved,” he added.