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Bottas ready to be Hamilton's 'wingman' in Saudi Arabian GP

Valtteri Bottas is keen to fight for victory in Saudi Arabia but admits he will be ready to throw his support behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas says he will be fully prepared to play a supporting role to Lewis Hamilton in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, in order to help his Mercedes teammate's championship challenge. Hamilton trails Red Bull rival Max Verstappen by eight points ahead of Sunday's race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which the seven-time World Champion will start from pole position, with Bottas alongside him. Verstappen had to settle for third in qualifying after crashing out on his final flying lap, though is at least set to avoid a gearbox change and grid penalty .

Bottas ready to support Hamilton

While he wants to push for victory in his penultimate race with Mercedes, Bottas is well aware of the situation in both title fights (with Mercedes leading Red Bull by just five points) and has vowed to play the team game if called upon. Asked if he sees himself as Hamilton's wingman heading into the race, Bottas told accredited media, including RacingNews365.com : "Of course. If there's a chance I can win the race, I'll try, but if not, then we need to maximise the team result. "I'm not fighting for the World Championship anymore, so I'll keep that in mind. Lewis and Max are, so we need to see what is the best for the team. "[The job is] to get the most out of myself, of the machinery, to get the most out of the result as a whole team - that's the focus. "We'll make plans, of course, and try to optimise everything, but it's the usual business."

Bottas satisfied with front-row lockout

Bottas added that he was proud of his and the team's performance on Saturday at the all-new Jeddah track. "It was definitely an intense qualifying," Bottas reflected. "It's satisfying to be 1-2. It was really close out there and the last lap I had was really all I could get out from the car - it's an ideal starting position." Bottas also paid tribute to his mechanics for carrying out an engine change between final practice and qualifying. He said: "The guys just finished the car in time and everything was working fine, so I already promised them some beers when we're… well… allowed to have some - so that's going to be on me!"

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Free Practice 3