Valtteri Bottas denies George Russell Mercedes claims after personal history with Brit

F1: Hamilton and Bottas take the W12 Mercedes around Bahrain

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Valtteri Bottas has denied there is anything personal between his battles with George Russell, after already having history with the Englishman. Bottas has enjoyed a solid start to the 2022 season after making the switch from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo for the campaign.

Following his move, Russell was the man to replace him after the Brit arrived from Williams. Whilst competing for their respective new teams in 2022, the pair have often been involved in a fierce battle on the track. 

Their rivalry was reignited in Miami last Sunday, after having already battled it out in the latter stages of Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola last month. It has been no secret that the pair have shared a rivalry – both on and off the track – in previous years, and after Russell took over Bottas’ seat in 2022, it seemed as if more fuel had been added to the fire.

Despite the rumours, the Finn has denied that there is anything ‘personal’ between the two drivers, and insists his main target is ‘chasing points’ rather than individual opponents. He said: “We’re chasing points and always just really trying to maximise every opportunity, every position you can make.

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“Obviously, it was a nice target for me in that race [at Imola], because, from [the middle] to the end of the race, there wasn’t really much action around me so I was catching him a few tenths a lap, and that just kept me pushing. The target was more points, rather than a person.”

After the opening five races, Bottas finds himself in eighth place in the driver standings on a respectable 30 points. It could have been even better for the Finn in Miami after sitting in fifth against Mercedes pairing Russell and Lewis Hamilton, however a mistake with eight laps to go saw him surrender his advantage before eventually finishing seventh.

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In spite of the Miami mistake, Bottas’ new boss Fred Vasseur said he was ‘more than pleased with his performance. He told “I don’t know what’s happened [in Miami] exactly. But I’m more than pleased with the job done…

“We have to keep in mind that last year P7 was probably our best result, and was perhaps less than this. And overall it’s a very strong weekend from the team with P5 in quali…Ten laps before the end we were P5 because Russell had to pit and Lewis was behind us. The last couple of laps didn’t come in our direction.”

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