F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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As contract talks get underway for his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas has admitted he’s yet to open discussions with the seven-time champions about his future with the team.
Hamilton and Bottas are both out of contract come the end of the season, and although the Briton looks set to seal the deal at Mercedes for at least another year, Bottas seems to have been left in limbo, with the ever-growing presence of George Russell waiting in the wings.
And the Finn’s performance this season hasn’t much helped his cause with his worst start to a Mercedes season, currently sitting fifth in the standings, 72 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen.
At the start of the month, Bottas said he expected contract discussions to start over the ‘next month or so’, with much speculation surrounding the Mercedes 2022 lineup.
Valtteri Bottas shrugs off Lewis Hamilton suggestions at Styrian GP
Meanwhile, Russell has been heavily linked with a seat at Mercedes after impressing while deputising for Hamilton last season and with his three-year deal coming to an end with Williams at the end of the season.
However, for Bottas, he’s adamant his bad start bears no reflection on any potential delays to contract talks, and it’s currently all business as usual at Mercedes.
“First of all, as many know, it’s not a new situation for me. I’ve been many times in this same situation, every year, where I’ve been waiting for my future to be clear,” said Bottas ahead of the first of two races in Austria.
“It’s again the same situation, and it’s nothing new for me, it’s normal.
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“Everyone knows how this sport works, if you make results, you will earn your place where you deserve to be.
“If you don’t make results, if the team feels like you need to change the driver, then you change the driver, it’s very simple in this sport and again I’m just going back, but there are 16 races to go.
“The team knows what I am capable of, they know how valuable I’ve been in the recent years for getting the championship, etc.
“It’s not yet time for those discussions, we are now in the beginning of the triple header, two races in two weeks, that’s the focus now.
“I’m sure in the off weeks, we will have time to discuss when is going to be the time.
“That’s the situation and that’s where I’m at, and that’s the situation I need to maximise, it’s simple.”
Hamilton is looking to claw back the lead of the championship this weekend at the Styrian GP, with Verstappen leading the way by 12 points.
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