However, despite Bottas underperforming in a dominant Mercedes car, the Briton backed his teammate. Lewis felt that it is not easy for a driver to be his teammate.
During the press conference in Bahrain, the seven-time world champion felt that the fans must consider who Bottas is driving up against.
“People need to give Valtteri his due respect,” he said. “I think you’ve got to remember who he’s driving up against. It’s not easy being my teammate.”
One cannot really deny Lewis’s statement. Over eight years with Mercedes, Lewis lost against his teammate just once.
The one driver who gave Lewis a hard time was Nico Rosberg, but that just lasted for a year. Following his retirement, Bottas joined the team and is yet to provide the same fight to the Briton.
Bottas has looked competitive over his time in the Mercedes. However, the fact that Lewis is always stronger through the second half of a season meant that the Finn never had the chance to ignite a championship fight against Lewis. This has unfortunately been the trend over the last four years.
During the interview, Lewis opened up on how Bottas stands out from other drivers on the grid. “He [Bottas] comes in, weekend in, weekend out, with the same mentality,” Lewis said.
“He’s never moaning, complaining that something’s wrong with the car. It’s always ‘I’ve got to do a better job’. I don’t know any other driver that does that here.”
Bottas has undeniably been second fiddle to Lewis through this season. Although he showed glimpses of his true pace occasionally, his inconsistency overshadowed every positive that came from his side.
“We come into these weekends with a fresh head. I think mentally, he’s one of the strongest drivers here,” Lewis said.
However, he might not be under much stress now, considering Lewis has already lifted this year’s trophy. With nothing to lose, Bottas will intend to push harder and see this season out with a bunch of race wins. Can Bottas break the shackles and end this season on a high note? Only time will tell.