Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the combination of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas continues to work “really well”.
The duo have been together at Mercedes since the start of the 2017 season. Bottas was signed from Williams ahead of that campaign after Nico Rosberg had won the 2016 World Championship only to retire shortly after.
And over his four seasons at Mercedes, Bottas has received a fair bit of criticism – although he has helped Mercedes to the Constructors’ Championship every year since 2017, he has never mounted a serious challenge to Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings.
Hamilton’s latest triumph in 2020 means he is now a seven-time World Champion, tied with Michael Schumacher.
However, the appeal is clear for Mercedes. Bottas is a driver that has never really kicked up a fuss in his time with the team, and with his performances comfortably enough to bag the Constructors’ title each year while Hamilton storms his way to the Drivers’ Championship, it is a comfortable set-up for the Silver Arrows.
And Wolff was clear that this partnership continues to work “really well”.
“I think if you have a dynamic between two drivers where the talking happens on track, I think you can have two alpha males [in the team],” said Wolff, quoted by the F1 website.
“And Valtteri has shown some really good performances this year but then dropped away towards the end.
“I like Valtteri and Lewis. The combination works well.
“When Lewis has a bad day, then Valtteri pulls it off, then the other way around…Valtteri had a really bad day [at the Turkish Grand Prix] and then Lewis wins the race. I think as a combination, it really works well.”
Last time out in Bahrain 🥰 pic.twitter.com/gVEfDbfUBc
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 24, 2020
Ever since joining Mercedes, Bottas’ contracts have been renewed on a yearly basis and that remains the case with the Finn already lined up for 2021.
All signs point towards Hamilton being his team-mate, but that is yet to be made official.
Hamilton’s Mercedes contract expires at the end of the 2020 campaign, and talks between both parties are yet to begin.
But with both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships now in the bag, Wolff will find the “right moment” to open talks with Hamilton.
“We’re living in a very fast-paced environment and you can see that you are the centre point of attention and a year later if you decide to call it a day you’re not,” he told Channel 4.
“So it’s all about finding your own happiness and making the right decisions.
“I’m going to carry on because I’m the owner of the team, I will find somebody who one day is going to take over my baton, and as for Lewis we just need to sit down now.
“We decided that we wanted to terminate the Championship on a high, this is the moment today, and now we’ll find the right moment.”