Valtteri Bottas believes that the manner in which the 2021 F1 season ended – as well as Mercedes' difficulties in 2022 – are behind Lewis Hamilton's desire to extend his stay in the sport.
Hamilton was memorably involved in a tense battle for the title with Max Verstappen during the last campaign, but lost out on the World Championship in the controversial final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In 2022, Mercedes have been unable to match the pace of rivals Red Bull and Ferrari and, unless Hamilton achieves a victory in the final two races of the year, it will mark the seven-time World Champion's first season in which he has not claimed a win.
Hamilton's current contract with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of 2023, but he recently voiced his intention to remain with the team beyond then.
Bottas reflects on Hamilton's plan to stay in F1
Bottas – who raced alongside Hamilton at Mercedes between 2017 and 2021 – is not surprised that his former teammate wants to continue his F1 career, with the Finn suggesting that recent events have spurred Hamilton on.
"I think he's not satisfied with obviously the end of last year, and also this year," Bottas told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"He seems like he is still enjoying it, and I think recently he's been back at his level again. Why not [stay]? He loves racing."
Should 37-year-old Hamilton remain in Formula 1 beyond 2023, he would likely be racing into his 40s. This follows on from Fernando Alonso's signing of a multi-year deal with Aston Martin at the age of 41.
Bottas thinks that this shows that drivers can still achieve in the sport at different ages.
"Obviously, every driver's individual," the 10-time race winner said.
"I think it's a lot up to you; if you still want it, if you still want to be competitive, you can."
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The value of experience in Formula 1
When asked if there has been a shift from a focus on youth to experience in Formula 1, Bottas suggested that this is not necessarily the case.
"I think experience has been always respected, but at some point it felt like there [were] more and more super-young drivers," the 33-year-old commented.
"I still feel like that is overall the trend in any sport. Somehow some start peaking earlier, maybe with the evolution of human beings or something, I don't know.
"I feel like in F1, still for a long time, there's always going to be the mix. Some teams want experience and stability, some teams want young, promising drivers that they've been developing for multiple years."
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