Formula 1

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Niki Lauda explains why Mercedes wanted Valtteri Bottas to partner Lewis Hamilton

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Formula One legend Niki Lauda has discussed the reasons behind Lewis Hamilton’s success in the 2017 season.

Hamilton won his fourth world title at the Mexican Grand Prix in October thereby becoming the most successful British driver in the competition’s history.

The 32-year-old, who previously won the title in 2008, 2014 and 2015, won nine races, four more than his closest rival Sebastian Vettel.

However, the three-time champion Lauda, who retired in 1985 after a successful stint with McLaren, believes that Hamilton was assisted greatly by Mercedes signing Valtteri Bottas.

The 28-year-old Bottas, who finished third in the final drivers' championship table with 305 points behind Hamilton (363) and Vettel (317), joined Mercedes from Williams at the start of the 2017 season and won two races.

The Finn was signed by Mercedes to replace retired and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg.

Despite praising Hamilton for his success, Lauda believes Bottas was the kind of driver he needed in the team – someone whom he knew would not upset his title ambitions but still be competitive enough to 'push' the Brit.

"I don't know what caused Nico's retirement, but [Lewis] Hamilton has reached a level where it's almost impossible to beat him," Lauda told Servus TV, as per The Express.

AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU DHABI-QUALIFYING

"This season, he made no mistakes and produced incredible races even though the car was not easy to handle. [Valtteri] Bottas did his job to push Lewis.”

Lauda also believes that Bottas has the ability to perform better, given he is provided a more competitive car. “Valtteri can perform a little better,” he said. “But the car was not easy to drive and he couldn't get any more from it."

Both Hamilton and Bottas contracts are coming to an end at the end of the 2018 campaign, but it is believed that Mercedes are optimistic of holding on their two star drivers.

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Topics:
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
Formula 1
Nico Rosberg

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