Lewis Hamilton says that he doesn’t see the need for Mercedes to drop Valtteri Bottas at the end of the current season.
Bottas and Hamilton are the longest-standing driver pairing on the grid, having been team-mates since the start of the 2017 campaign when the Finn replaced Nico Rosberg.
How much longer the partnership will last is unclear though, with it looking more and more likely that George Russell will replace Bottas at the end of this season at the latest.
It’s a decision that many feel is the right one, with Bottas not having the best of years thus far and Russell continuing to look like a huge talent.
However, Hamilton doesn’t think that such a move would be necessary for the team.
“Valtteri is my team-mate now and we’ve both of us had our ups and downs in our careers,” he told reporters in Austria.
“But as I said, I think he is a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change. We have worked well for many years.
“Valtteri has been my best team-mate overall and when I say team-mate it’s not just driver performance, it’s about team morale and how you work in the team-mate environment.”
When asked whether he would be happy to drive alongside Russell, Hamilton said: “He’s not my team-mate currently so no need to say anything on it.”
Bottas' French Grand Prix frustration
Finlay Crebolder and Charlotte Lines of Planet F1 discuss Valtteri Bottas' angry outburst at the French Grand Prix and the ongoing speculation surrounding his future at Mercedes.
At various points in the past year, a pairing of Bottas and Russell at Mercedes has looked possible with talk that Hamilton could leave or even retire from the sport altogether.
Such talk came from the fact that he took so long to renew his contract with the German team last season and only signed on for an extra year.
Going forward though, it looks like there will be no such question marks, with discussions already underway between the two parties and going well.
“We have begun discussions,” said the seven-time World Champion.
“Not a lot to say too much but we have started discussions and things are positive.”
Hamilton’s home race is coming up soon, and the 26-year-old has decidedly mixed feelings about the prospect of a now confirmed 140,000-strong capacity crowd at the British Grand Prix.