Seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton Said on Thursday that he had been with Mercedes And strongly supported Valtteri Bottas as his teammate.

The 36-year-old Englishman and Bottas have no contract at the end of the season. Hamilton is expected to continue, but there is a lot of speculation about the defending champion’s second seat.

“We have already started discussions,” Hamilton told reporters in Styrian. Grand prize In Austria. “There is nothing to say about this, but we had discussions and things were positive.”

Hamilton’s current contract was announced in February last year after protracted negotiations through the 2020 season of the COVID-19 pandemic. The British tested positive for the virus and missed a game.

Team owner Toto Wolff said he intends to complete the next deal more quickly.

Mercedes is also weighing British George Russell, who plays for Williams, but has a long-term contract with the champion as a possible replacement for Bottas.

Bottas has been playing for the team since 2017. After the German suddenly retired, he replaced the 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg to join, but this year suffered bad luck and setbacks.

The magical Finn

The Finn ranked fifth in overall score, scoring half of Hamilton’s. Hamilton won three of the seven games and ranked second in the standings. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton said: “Valtery is now my teammate. Both of our careers have experienced ups and downs.” “I think he is an excellent teammate. I don’t think this needs to change.”

Bottas took a more positive attitude towards his team, sparking speculation. At the French Grand Prix last weekend, he complained on the radio that his strategy had not been heard.

In Monaco, he told reporters that before his game ended because the mechanic failed to remove the stuck wheel, he had expressed concerns about pit stops.

Some people think this is a sign that Bottas knows that he is moving on, and said that there is nothing to lose, but the driver poured cold water on it.

“This view is completely wrong,” he said. “Our relationship with the team is very good, there is no problem. This situation is normal.

“As a team, the reason why we got here is to always be direct and always honestly express our feelings, if you think there is room for improvement. So this is not new, everything is fine.”

(Reported by Alan Baldwin London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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