Valtteri Bottas makes ‘better driver’ claim about Lewis Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton formed an immense partnership at Mercedes and claimed five consecutive Constructors' Championships.

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has opened up on his five-year spell at Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton, a period where the British driver won four consecutive World Drivers’ Championships.

Following his switch from Williams to Mercedes in 2017, Bottas actually settled into the Silver Arrows very well; however, he could never consistently beat Hamilton.

The Finn had his moments where he was faster than the 38-year-old but could never string together a consistent run of results to put him in the title fight.

Remarkably, 2017 was the closest he came to being World Champion, after ending the season third and 58 points behind Hamilton.

READ: Christian Horner claims Williams agreed Mercedes deal for ‘early release’

For what it’s worth, Bottas was an exceptional number two driver, but never had the speed to claim a title.

After leaving Mercedes for Alfa Romeo at the end of 2021, Bottas has since admitted that it was “hard to accept” that Hamilton was simply a “better driver”, with the 33-year-old having thought long and hard about how to overcome the 103-time race winner.

“For such a competitive nature, it was hard to accept. It was only in the last year that I could accept that Lewis Hamilton was a better driver,” Bottas told Finnish journalist Maria Veitola.

“I always wondered how I could beat him and win the world championship. It was quite an exhausting five years. I wanted to win everything right away, and then when it didn’t happen, it was hard to accept.”

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The switch to Alfa Romeo appears to have been the perfect fresh start for Bottas, who enjoyed a solid maiden season with the side.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the switch was a “good moment” for the Finn, who seems “happier” after leaving the “pressure cooker at Mercedes”.

“I think that it was a good moment for Valtteri to leave the team because the pressure was enormous on him and he didn’t want to be a wingman,” Wolff told Channel 4.

“I think having released him from that pressure, now he’s racing with Alfa, it is completely different and he seems also happier for me rather than this pressure cooker at Mercedes.”

READ: Mercedes to return to the top with Lewis Hamilton in 2023

Bottas does seem much happier in himself after having the Mercedes pressure removed from his shoulders, with the Finn now targeting many more seasons at the pinnacle of motorsport.

“I’m now 33, I still feel like I have things to learn,” he told last October.

“I can still be faster than now. I feel like I have a lot to give to Formula 1 so I’m planning to stick around for a while in F1. I’m really open about my future.”