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Hamilton support of Bottas is tactical, claims Palmer

Written by  Mar 12, 2018

Lewis Hamilton's desire to keep Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes beyond 2018 is tactical, according to ex-Renault driver Jolyon Palmer.

The Finn is currently signed to just a one-year deal with the world champions after his strong start at the Brackley-based team tempered off after the summer break as he struggled to match his teammate.

His arrival from Williams did have a big change in the atmosphere within Mercedes and the relationship Hamilton has struck with Bottas is often what the Briton cites as his reason for wanting him alongside.

As part of his new role as a pundit with the BBC, however, Palmer thinks Lewis' backing is more about status within the team.

"It’s a very similar situation to what we’ve got at Ferrari where Sebastian Vettel is kind of the No. 1 driver, whether officially or not, and he’s voiced his support for Kimi Raikkonen to stay there," he told the British broadcaster.

"When you have a situation like this in the team, you have one guy that is the No 1 then they don’t want the second guy to be as quick, it’s natural. He’s a competitor and he can also be helpful in a title run-in."

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The idea of Hamilton getting priority has always been rejected by motorsport boss Toto Wolff, who has insisted both Mercedes drivers are free to race. The 33-year-old has also always maintained he enjoys the competition too, wherever it comes from.

"The more competition there is, the more fun it is to watch," he stated. "The ultimate goal is that we hopefully have more teams fighting for the championship.

"I think there was one year where had six different winners in the first six races, or whatever it was. That’s only good for the sport."

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