But while those two go at it atop the championship standings, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas lurks dangerously in 3rd place in his first season with the team, and he wants you to know it.
Bottas sits just over one race-worth of points back of Vettel for the lead in the standings with 169 points (-39) and would be much closer to him had it not been for his lone retirement at Spain this season, a race won by Hamilton with Vettel finishing in 2nd place.
Aside of his lone retirement at Spain, Bottas has not finished lower than 6th place in any race this season, which is better than the lowest finishes of the season for both Vettel and Hamilton, which are 7th place efforts at Silverstone an
Bottas’ total of eight podium finishes through 11 races so far this season is tied with Vettel’s for the lead among all drivers, and it is actually two podium finishes higher than his teammate Hamilton’s total of six. Bottas is also the only driver besides Vettel and Hamilton who has won multiple races this season, as he won at Russia and Austria earlier this season to claim his first two career victories.
What Bottas also wants you to know that he doesn’t want to be in the shadow of his three-time champion teammate Hamilton. At Hungary, team orders allowed Hamilton to pass Bottas for 3rd place in an attempt to hunt down Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen for 2nd place. But when Hamilton was unable to do so, he relinquished 3rd place to Bottas, as promised, and finished in 4th place with Bottas on the final step of the podium.
Bottas was content with the outcome of that situation, particularly with Hamilton’s sportsmanship as a teammate. So he made it a point to let the world know it. Instead of complaining about the fact that the team made him give up 3rd place to Hamilton to start with so that Hamilton could try to pass Raikkonen for 2nd place, Bottas praised his team for their effective teamwork and cooperation with one another.
He also reiterated the fact that he does not want to be in Hamilton’s shadow, explaining that despite the appearance of this situation on the surface level, this situation showed that he isn’t in that shadow, as Hamilton very easily could have stayed in 3rd place instead of letting Bottas have it back.
“Not every team-mate would have done that for a podium, this shows how well we work as a team. But on the other hand, I would have been angry if Lewis had not accepted the deal. The team has made it clear right from the beginning that we are both treated and respected equally.”
“We get the same equipment, there is no number one and number two driver, and I trusted that was the case. I am fighting for the world championship, as this is also about my own career. I do not want to be in Lewis’ shadow.“