Lewis Hamilton fired team-mate warning as Max Verstappen's advantage proves a concern


Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been sent a warning shot by former Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve who has suggested his outgoing team-mate Valtteri Bottas “doesn’t want to help” Mercedes after being axed for George Russell. After months of speculation, it was finally announced ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix that Bottas would be signing for Alfa Romeo, making way for the 24-year-old at Mercedes.

The move came after the Finn spent the past five seasons playing second fiddle to Hamilton, with his future boss Frédéric Vasseur saying the move would offer him a fresh start and a different challenge in a new environment.

But Bottas was still contractually obliged to see out the season with Mercedes, who are currently in a fierce battle with Red Bull and Max Verstappen for the world title.

Verstappen leads the way by just eight points heading into the penultimate race at Saudi Arabia ahead of the finale next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Yet Villeneuve believes Hamilton could struggle to receive backup from his current team-mate, suggesting Sergio Perez could be a key player in the championship fight.

“Bottas for sure helped Lewis out a lot in Hungary, but you see the difference between him and Hamilton,” Villeneuve told Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the weekend. “We knew Perez was not at Verstappen’s level but he improved.

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