Hamilton declares Bottas his 'best' teammate in F1 as Mercedes decision looms

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Lewis Hamilton has once again offered his support to Valtteri Bottas, calling him his "best teammate" in Formula 1.

After the seven-time world champion signed a new two-year contract earlier in July, Mercedes is expected to make a decision on who his 2022 teammate will be by next month's Belgian Grand Prix.

Most speculation has pointed towards Williams driver George Russell earning a much-deserved promotion, but Bottas has continually had the backing of Hamilton and proved his worth by assisting Lewis last weekend at Silverstone.

“Knowing my relationship with Valtteri makes him a great teammate. I’ve always said that,” the Briton said via Motorsport-Total.com recently.

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“And to be honest, I feel like that we currently have the pairing that delivers best when it comes to balance in the team and the knowledge of how we can develop our car.

“At some point, that will change. I won’t be here forever, and neither will Valtteri. But for now, I think we have done well over the years and can do that we will continue to do so.

“People have to leave him alone sometimes so that he can concentrate on his work.”

The main reason for Hamilton's harmony with Bottas is the lack of tension, which certainly wasn't the case with the Finn's predecessor Nico Rosberg.

And there is a thought that by putting a driver like Russell in at Mercedes, it may have an effect similar to that Charles Leclerc had at Ferrari.

“We will continue to work together as a team, as we have done for many years,” the 36-year-old continued.

“I have always said that, overall, Valtteri is the best teammate I have ever had and when I say that, I mean not only the performance but also the morale in the team and how we work together in the environment.

“We will continue to try to improve our communication and hopefully, we will master such things even better in the future.”

Of course, Hamilton knows what it is like to disrupt F1's top name as a young up-and-comer after the drama-filled year with Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007.

And the double world champion believes the Briton should just deal with whoever is put alongside him.

“I think like everyone else, a driver does not have the option to choose who his partner is,” he told Spanish newspaper AS. “You just accept it.

“There is never a problem in that sense, although I don’t know the situation they have at Mercedes, nor am I interested.”