Lewis Hamilton is pleased that new Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Valtteri Bottas has proven many of his critics wrong since joining the team, believing the Finn to be a “credible competitor”.
Bottas was drafted in by Mercedes for the 2017 season following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from F1 just five days after clinching his maiden world championship.
Bottas scored a podium finish on debut for the team and took his first pole in Bahrain, but shot to the top of the rostrum last time out in Russia to claim his maiden grand prix victory.
The result did much to dispel suggestions that Bottas would be playing second-fiddle to Hamilton at Mercedes through 2017, with the Briton happy to see his teammate prove his critics wrong.
“Of course he’s a credible competitor, he was when he joined,” Hamilton said.
“I think it was many of you and perhaps people who are fans, whatever, came with preconceived ideas of how he was going to perform.
“He’s proved everyone wrong so fair play to him and he’s going to remain a competitor through the rest of the year so the fight will go on.
“We’ve stated our relationship with a really great foundation I think, a respectful foundation and I think that will continue.”