Valtteri Bottas future: Lewis Hamilton 'knows who he wants as Mercedes teammate'

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Lewis Hamilton will want Valtteri Bottas to remain his Mercedes team-mate in 2022, according to Sky pundit and former F1 driver Paul Di Resta.

The 7-time champion leads the way in the standings once again this year with Max Verstappen looking set to be his nearest rival for the title as things stand.

Indeed, the Portuguese Grand Prix at the weekend rather summed that up, as both found their way past Valtteri Bottas who, despite starting on pole, didn't have enough pace to convert that into an all-important race victory.

It's early days, but it already looks as though Bottas will be playing rear-gunner for Hamilton in the title fight and it's that fact that, according to Di Resta, will see him being wanted for next year by Hamilton over George Russell coming in:

"Yes, George is ambitious. Yes, he's probably the future of Mercedes Benz. But that's where the decision becomes incredibly hard for Toto," he explained to Sky Sports F1 on Sunday.

"I'm sure Lewis doesn't want the foundations of that team to change because it's won world championships, it's won Constructors' Championships, for a very good reason.

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"And when you see the performance of Mr Hamilton on a day like today, if you've got anything that's gonna doubt that do you take that away?

"I think Lewis if he's wise, will probably give Valtteri a lot of support, and show the team that he is a team player, absolutely a team player."

Of course, Bottas will want to try and upset things a little bit and want to still stake his claim for the Drivers' crown this year but that already looks tough with the way the early stages have gone this season in F1.

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Russell, naturally, seems the heir to one of the thrones in the Merc garage and with Hamilton obviously earning the right to take one of the seats next year if he so wishes, the other is the most up for grabs.

Russell is ambitious and certainly looks a bit more ruthless than Valtteri at the moment, though, and so you can see where Di Resta is coming from in saying that Lewis probably likes things just as they are.

With what happened when Nico Rosberg was at the team in mind, too, that could well be a factor in Toto Wolff's decision.

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