Formula One: Bottas pays tribute to Hakkinen and urges Hamilton to sign

AFP , Thursday 24 May 2018

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice (Photo: Reuters)

Valtteri Bottas is celebrating the 20th anniversary of fellow-Finn Mika Hakkinen's sole Monaco victory by wearing a helmet in the design and colours used by the double Formula 1 champion.

In a move that maintains a tradition for tribute helmets at the Monaco Grand Prix, Bottas has adopted Hakkinen's three blue stripes on a white foundation.

"He won here 20 years ago and that year he also won the title," said Bottas. "I wanted to pay a tribute. I respect him as a driver, as a guy, and I always loved the paint as well."

Other drivers including Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, Monegasque Charles Leclerc and New Zealander Brendon Hartley have revealed special crash helmets featuring a Monaco theme.

Bottas also responded to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's remarks suggesting a laid-back attitude to a new contract.

"There isn't any sticking point. There just hasn't been any rush," Hamilton said earlier.

"There's no discussion with anybody else, there's no consideration for anybody else, it's just (me) taking my time."

To which Bottas, who has a one-year contract with Mercedes, responded by saying he hoped both would be with the team next year.

"First of all, I would like to stay here," said the Finn. "That is my goal for the long term. It would be nice if Lewis wants to stay and finds an agreement.

"I enjoy working with him, I enjoy the challenge he gives me. I enjoy the fact he's a four-time world champion and at the moment I'm none. It makes me try harder to be better.

"It wouldn't change my mind that I want to stay here, but I think we work well together."

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