Hamilton sheds light on impact of Bottas win


Lewis Hamilton believes that Valtteri Bottas has already proved his doubters wrong and insists the Finnish driver must be considered as a real threat for this year’s three-way title race.

Bottas clinched his first Grand Prix in Sochi and if nothing else, at least limited Sebastian Vettel’s lead at the top of the table. That is the view that many people held till now, but Hamilton feels that Bottas should be seen as a much more serious candidate than just being a one-off sensation.

Hamilton, who arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya for the start of the European season with his pet dog Roscoe in tow, is 13 points behind Vettel after a poor outing in Russia.

“I said from the beginning of the season that Valtteri was in competition so it is no surprise that he would eventually get a win,” Hamilton said.

“Of course he is a credible competitor. He was when he joined. Many of you, and perhaps the fans, too, came with pre-conceived ideas of how he was going to perform and he has proved everybody wrong.

“Fair play to him. He is going to remain a competitor throughout the rest of the year, so the fight will go on. We have started our relationship with a respectable foundation and I think that will continue.”

Hamilton was a distant fourth in Russia, and after the race, appeared at a loss to explain why he was so slow at a circuit at which he often excels.

“Coming into this weekend we have a good understanding of where we went wrong on our side of the garage in Sochi,” Hamilton said.

“There has been a huge amount of analysis so we have definitely grown from the experience – both having a win and a fast car – and a car that struggled in so many areas. We are better equipped now.

“I can’t say if it is going to be better this weekend – I assume it will be – but there are lots of different challenges this weekend. We will be doing a lot of work on Friday to get the car in the right place.”

Bottas, meanwhile, said that he was also looking to build on this new-found reputation.

“It took some time to properly realise I won the race,” Bottas said. “It is quite nice but after a few days, it is done.

“There are good vibes, but then there is always the next race to focus on. If you stay in the clouds too long then you fall very hard back down again.”

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