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Lewis Hamilton: Valtteri Bottas having a better season than me

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas has "generally had a better season" than him so far despite being 15 points behind in the championship.

Bottas' win in Austria, the second of his career, moved him to within 35 points of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and prevented the Ferrari driver from maximising the damage to Hamilton after his gearbox penalty. The Finn would have been level with his Mercedes teammate without suffering an engine failure at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Lars Baron/Getty Images
Since that retirement Bottas has scored more points than any other driver, while Hamilton has won once but also suffered setbacks in Monaco, Azerbaijan and Austria. Hamilton has been complimentary of his new teammate all season and thinks it is wrong for anyone to suggest he isn't a contender for this season's title.

"Valtteri did a fantastic job, so he thoroughly deserved to win," Hamilton said of Bottas' Austrian GP performance. "When you look at the results, he's also had a DNF as well. He's generally had a better season I would say so far.

"There was never a point that he was never in the fight. I think it was only you guys who potentially suggested that he was never in the battle. I always assumed he still was, and that just shows he still is."

Bottas replaced 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg after his retirement at the end of last season. Mercedes has been impressed with Bottas' quick start to life at the team, something summed up by technical director James Allison after his most recent win.

"He is very likeable," Allison told Sky Sports. "He's also utterly, utterly calm at all points and just removes any kind of psychodrama from the weekend. Which is a great benefit for the team. He's got a very tidy turn of speed as we've seen, he's very reliable, and we're very fortunate to have him."

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/19959972/lewis-hamilton-thinks-teammate-valtteri-bottas-had-better-season-far

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