Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Toto Wolff has insisted that Valtteri Bottas will always remain part of the Mercedes family after the Finn’s impending switch to Alfa Romeo was confirmed on Monday afternoon. Bottas has signed a multi-year deal with the Italian outfit in a move that is likely to see George Russell replace him at the Silver Arrows next season.
Bottas will join Alfa Romeo from the start of the 2022 campaign and will be hoping to build on what has ultimately been a frustrating period at Mercedes.
He has played second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton for the entirety of his five-year spell at the team, with his future move able to offer him a fresh start in a new environment.
Wolff issued a statement via the Mercedes website shortly after the news was confirmed, thanking Bottas for his efforts and wishing him good luck for the next stage of his career with Alfa Romeo.
“This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us,” said Wolff.
“Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.”
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“Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success.
“He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport.
“When the time comes, he will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family.”
Wolff’s warm words were echoed by Bottas himself, who underlined his pride with regards to driving for Mercedes and stressed that he will aim to end the current season on a high with another Constructors’ Championship title.
“I am so proud of everything we have achieved together in my time with Mercedes,” added the nine-time Grand Prix winner.
“And it is not over yet, because we have our biggest challenge so far to try and claim our eighth Constructors’ title.
“When I look back on my time with Mercedes, I want to be able to say that I squeezed every drop out of this opportunity and left nothing on the table, and I want to make sure that we finish our time together as champions.
“It has been a privilege and a great sporting challenge to work with Lewis, and the harmony in our relationship played a big part in the Constructors’ Championships we won as teammates.
“Later this year, the time will come to say goodbye. That’s not for now, but I would like to thank Toto and the team for the respect in how we took the decision together.”
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