After enduring a toxic yearlong relationship with former teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has finally found his pit side bromance.
As if it was written in the stars, Lewis Hamilton may finally get the bromance he’s been wanting all his life in Formula One. After the friendship-turned-partnership-turned-rivalry with former Mercedes Silver Arrow Nico Rosberg, it’s safe to say that Hamilton wished for something that would mesh better for the 2017 season. He’s found it in the form of Valtteri Bottas.
— Monster Energy (@MonsterEnergy) July 30, 2017
Perhaps it’s the Finn’s demeanor and work ethic, or the experience from Rosberg-gate, but halfway into the season, the Hamilton-Bottas partnership has proven itself to be the way moving forward for the Silver Arrows. The duo’s interwoven performance at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix stands as proof.
Both Mercedes drivers gave it their all in an attempt to catch the Ferrari front men of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas hounded Raikkonen in third, but the Finn just couldn’t mount a strong enough challenge to his fellow countrymen. Then, crackling back over a radio that surged back to life after dying on him halfway through the race, Hamilton pipped up – asking for permission to overtake and attack the crimson target ahead. He got his wish, under the pretense that he would return the spot back to Valtteri should he not be able to claim second.
Hamilton gave it his all, but in the end, it was not enough. Kimi had pulled away. For a moment, it seemed that the Brit would hold on to the podium given to him by Bottas as he turned the last corner onto the final straight. But, in a move that Bottas will surely never forget, Hamilton slammed the brakes on his car, and gave his teammate the spot back – dropping out of the top three.
The move was instantly heralded as “wrong” by vocal fans, but Hamilton knew the payoff that he’d receive for it: Bottas’ trust and respect. Hamilton was under no illusion regarding his intention as he spoke after the race:
“Hopefully the way I drove today, and how I behaved at the end, shows that I am a team player and a man of my word. Slowing down seven seconds was tough and I was nervous about losing a place to Verstappen but fortunately I didn’t. It’s tough in the championship but I’m a man of my word. I hope we don’t lose the world championship by anything more than three points.” – Lewis Hamilton
According to Bottas, the move had the desired intent, and the Finn was grateful to have seen the gentleman-like behavior from Hamilton:
“When the gap was big I knew it could be a problem but in the end, it was OK. Not every team-mate would give the swap back if you are running for a podium place.
In the end, I was getting a little bit worried, I struggled with backmarkers today, but thanks to Lewis to keep the promise and let me by because I gave him the shot to get past the Ferraris.” – Valtteri Bottas
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 31, 2017
In a turn of events that could have been more fitting for the imminent F1 summer break, the duo have undoubtedly cemented a friendship that was already beginning to blossom out on the track. Now only time will tell if it was one that will stand the test of time.