Bottas backs Raikkonen, reveals dismay about Monza

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Valtteri Bottas has backed compatriot Kimi Raikkonen to bounce back from a difficult start to the season and re-find his form soon.

Raikkonen re-joined Ferrari at the beginning of the season after two years with Lotus, and the move was intended to allow both the driver and the team to relive their glory days and mount a serious assault for both world championships.

However, in his first eight races back at Maranello, the Finn has scored just 19 points and has only finished as high as seventh, leading to many questions about his motivation and passion for the sport.

For Bottas, it is merely a blip, and he is confident that his fellow countryman will return to form soon.

“I think he’s okay,” he told to NBC Sports. “For sure, Fernando is giving him a hard time to him. I don’t know the things in detail but for sure he’s struggling with the way the car behaves.

“I think he’s okay. He will get there, I am sure.”

Bottas also spoke about the possible loss of Monza. Earlier this week, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that the historic circuit could be cut from the sport’s calendar as it has been a “commercial disaster”.

“It would be a real shame,” he said. “It’s a great track. I have good memories of there, I won the GP3 title in Monza. For racing, that track is just really special because there’s a lot of overtaking because of the long straights, always good fights and a lot of history. It would be a real shame.”

Bottas will be hoping to follow up his maiden F1 podium finish in Austria with a strong result this weekend at the British Grand Prix. Click here for all of the TV times and broadcasting options.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”