Hamilton respects Bottas doing 'talking on the track'

Imola (Italy) (AFP) –


Lewis Hamilton heaped praise on his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas on Saturday after the Finn had beaten him to pole position for Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion, who was seeking to extend his record number of poles to 98, was outpaced in the final seconds of a tight session, reversing the roles they had played a week earlier in Portugal.

Asked about the quality of Bottas as a racing team-mate, Hamilton said his result on Saturday spoke for itself.

"I don't really need to say much more," said Hamilton.

"I mean, jeez, he just got pole position. He's ahead of me. I have more poles than anyone here so it's not like I'm a slowpoke!

"He's doing an amazing job. He does his talking on the track and that's the great thing about Valtteri.

"I have a huge respect for him."

Bottas outpaced Hamilton by almost a tenth of a second to claim his 15th career pole as he bids for a 10th win to trim Hamilton's 77-point lead in the title race and land Mercedes a record seventh consecutive constructors championship.

It was his fourth pole in 13 outings this year.

Asked if he felt under-rated, Bottas said he did not "think about that – how people rate me..

"It's something that I think is the wrong area to focus on.

"Sometimes, you get criticism. I think everyone does. It's normal in life and there's always people who want to drag you down.

"I just turn it into positive energy and try to use it as a strength."