Sir Lewis Hamilton has sung the praises of former Mercedes team-mate and friend Valtteri Bottas, as the seven-time World Champion revealed his thoughts on the Finn’s first season at Alfa Romeo.
Hamilton and Bottas were team-mates at the Silver Arrows from 2017-2021, after Bottas replaced 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg.
The duo became one of the most successful partnerships in the sport’s history, after winning the Constructors’ Championship every year they spent together.
Bottas was, of course, replaced by George Russell this season, whom he formed somewhat of a rivalry with across 2020 and 2021 for the second seat at the German team.
The Finnish driver has had a strong first season at the Swiss team; however, a lack of upgrades to the C42 has seen Alfa Romeo slip backwards in the running order.
At the start of the season Bottas was able to compete with both Mercedes drivers, but since the Canadian Grand Prix the 33-year-old has failed to score a point.
Despite being in different teams, Hamilton has revealed that himself and Bottas have remained “very close”, with the 37-year-old explaining that they still travel together.
“Valtteri and I are actually very close,” said the Mercedes driver.
“We travel to and from most of the races together so we are together a lot. And we always have conversations. I’m really grateful that this friendship has continued because we really had great years together and the respect is huge between us.”
It’s been a frustrating season for Alfa Romeo, who arguably have a very strong base package; however, a lack of developments has seen them struggle to compete with the top midfield teams like Alpine and McLaren.
The Finnish driver is currently P10 in the Drivers’ Championship on 46 points, with the team in sixth in the Constructors’ Standings on 51 points.
Despite having struggled as of late, Hamilton thinks the Swiss team are set for a strong future, as they continue to be linked with a partnership with Audi.
Sauber and Alfa Romeo are parting ways at the end of 2023, with the Swiss company rumoured to be in discussions with Audi about a potential merge.
“I’ve been really, really happy to see the team start off so well this year and obviously, I won my GP2 championship with Fred [Vasseur], so I know how capable he is of doing a great job so it has got a lot of potential, that team,” said Hamilton.
“Growing up, they were Sauber and BMW and I’m sure they’ve got a great infrastructure back home and I’m excited for their future. Are they doing something with Audi? I don’t know.
“They’ve had an up and down year but Valtteri is really doing an amazing job there. I think both of the drivers are doing a great job given the challenges that we all have with our cars and I’m excited for their future.”