Let the mind games begin! Lewis Hamilton insists Valterri Bottas’s success is down to his former mechanic ahead of Spanish Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton claims his former engineer is behind Valterri Bottas’ success
- Riccardo Musconi crossed the divide in the Mercedes garage over the winter
- Musconi now works as chief mechanic to the F1 championship-leading Finn
- Hamilton believes Bottas looks ‘more focused than he has in previous years’
Lewis Hamilton has started the mind games by insisting his only current rival for the Formula One world title, Valtteri Bottas, is being helped by the transfer of his own mechanic.
Riccardo Musconi, known as Riki, crossed from one side of the Mercedes garage to another over the winter and is now chief mechanic to the revitalised Finn.
Bottas, who leads Hamilton by a single point by virtue of setting the fastest lap in Melbourne, has won twice this season and been runner-up on the other two occasions.
Lewis Hamilton (L) claims his former engineer is behind Valterri Bottas’ success
Going into the fifth race of the season in Barcelona, Hamilton said: ‘This year he has my No 2 engineer. He has been promoted to head engineer for him.. So that will be a nice helping hand and he is learning a lot from that. That’s to be expected, the little bit of a step he’s taken.
‘I’ve got a new No 2 engineer and we are working really well together but it takes time to build relationships and to continue to grow. So when you take one element away, whatever element that is, initially it’s not as strong as something you have built over six years.
‘We are building back to being stronger and trumping that. It’s only been four races so watch this space.’
Hamilton (R) celebrates with second-placed Bottas after winning the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix
Asked what he puts Bottas’s mini-revival down to, Hamilton said: ‘You could say he looks a little bit more focused than he has in previous years. The things he is doing on track, which my engineer has obviously encouraged him to do, the things I was doing with settings he is now doing and he has definitely moved in the right direction. Otherwise he is the strong Finn he has always been.’
The change of personnel was brought about by Tony Ross, Bottas’s former chief mechanic, leaving the F1 operation to head Mercedes’ engineering team in Formula E.
Hamilton is said by Mercedes to have approved of Musconi’s re-designation.
Source: Read Full Article