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Critics need to give ‘amazing’ Bottas a break, says Mercedes team mate Hamilton

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PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL - MAY 01: Pole position qualifier Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP and

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has come to the defence of Valtteri Bottas, hailing him as an “amazing team mate” and calling on his critics to “give him a break”…

Earlier on Thursday in Spain, Bottas dismissed reports that he could be replaced mid-season by Mercedes junior George Russell, even though he is 37 points behind Hamilton in the championship already.

Bottas started on pole at the last race in Portugal, but that has been the high of a difficult opening three races where a combination of misfortune and lack of pace has hurt his form.

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He has been team mates with Hamilton since the 2017 campaign, with Hamilton only having positive things to say about the Finn when quizzed on the rumours in Spain.

When asked if Mercedes would be stronger with Russell or Bottas alongside him, the seven-time world champion said: “To be really honest I've not given it a lot of thought, but from what I've experienced with the relationship with Valtteri, he's been an amazing team mate as I've always said.

I'm not going to be here forever, Valtteri won't be here forever but I think we've delivered time and time again over the years and we continue to

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver

“If I'm really honest I think we have the best line up currently in terms of deliverables, in terms of the equilibrium we have within our team, and the general knowledge in terms of moving our car forward.

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“At some stage it's going to shift, it's going to change, I'm not going to be here forever, Valtteri won't be here forever but I think we've delivered time and time again over the years and we continue to.

“Valtteri just got pole the last race, it's only the fourth race, I think people need to give him a break and let him focus on doing what he's doing.”

Hamilton heads into this weekend on the back of two wins and a second place, which has given him an eight-point lead over Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen.

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