Bottas: No tension with Lewis after Austria

Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas has insisted that there is no tension between him and his teammate Lewis Hamilton after the Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas won the opening race of the 2020 Formula 1 season from pole position with Hamilton finishing fourth after picking up a five-second penalty, but it was far from a simple race for the Finn.

Both Mercedes drivers had issues with vibrations during the race that were worsened by running over the kerbs and after the race there was some controversy about whether or not the team issued team orders.

Team principal Toto Wolff was also questioned after the race about whether they could have used strategy to allow Hamilton to move outside of the five-second window of Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc behind him.

“When you’re in the lead you of course want to minimise any risk,” Bottas told Motorsport.com.

“And you obviously have to slow down at least half a second and ideally more for double yellows. So I did that.

“And then I also knew that there’s going to be an opportunity to try and go for the fastest lap of the race, which would be silly not to, even though we couldn’t use the kerbs, but at least to try within the limits. So I was charging the pack as well.”

The 2019 championship runner-up is looking to mount more of a challenge this season after falling away during the second half of last year.

However, Bottas was keen to explain that there were no tensions between him and the six-time world champion.

“There are incidents and unlucky events,” he said.

“And I’m sure you all know that in F1 many things can happen and sometimes things just go the way they go. And we just had a debrief, a very open talk about everything. We went through the race in terms of my point of view and Lewis’s point of view and the team’s point of view, and there is no tension that I’m aware of.

“He is pretty experienced, Lewis, in this sport, so he knows things can happen. So no tension. But we had a good team result in the end. Obviously it could have been better, maybe. But we’re still leading the constructors’ and I won the race, so it could have been a lot worse start to the season.”

This was echoed by Hamilton after the race, who said he believed Bottas’ explanation of what happened during the race.

“I just saw Valtteri just now,” he said.

“And honestly I know Valtteri better than probably a lot of other people, being that we’ve worked so closely over these last few years, and that’s not something that was on my mind and something that I would ever think that he would do.

“I know that he wouldn’t do something like that, he’s a pure racer and wants to win through pure, merit. And I believe that when he says that, even though he doesn’t need to say that.”