Lewis Hamilton praises Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as he heads into F1 summer break with largest advantage in five-years

LEWIS HAMILTON delivered gushing praise on his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, as he heads for his summer holidays with the largest points advantage in five years.

Hamilton followed up his victory in the German GP with another win in Hungary to open up a 24 point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the title race.

 Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas

EPA
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Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas
 Hamilton shakes hands with Bottas after the Brit's win in Budapest

AP:Associated Press
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Hamilton shakes hands with Bottas after the Brit's win in Budapest

While the Brit's drive from pole to chequered flag was fairly routine, Bottas had an incident-packed final few laps after crashing into Vettel and then Daniel Ricciardo.

The unhappy Finn had to settle for fifth place and then snapped back at comments from Merc boss, Toto Wolff, that he was a "sensational wingman" for Hamilton.

Hamilton has now stepped in to calm the row and reassure his teammate of his importance to Mercedes.

He wrote on Instagram: "Finally sat down and I would like to give praise and thanks to Valtteri.

 Hamilton jumps for joy after his victory in Budapest on Sunday

Reuters
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Hamilton jumps for joy after his victory in Budapest on Sunday
 Hamilton now has a 24 point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the title race

AFP
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Hamilton now has a 24 point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the title race

"Without his great drive the team may not have won, would have been very tight at the end.

"But thanks to his fight he helped enable us to come away with 3 more points as a team than Ferrari.

"Don't forget, the priority of the team is to win the race and the team championship. So today he played a key role. As for me, he ultimately helped me in being supportive as a teammate which I want to acknowledge. Huge respect between us."

However, Hamilton's words will offer little comfort for Bottas, 28, as he is now a whopping 81 points behind him in the championship.

Meanwhile, Bottas was also given short shrift from Ricciardo, who also flipped his middle finger at the Mercedes man when he eventually overtook him on the final lap.

TV pictures have now come to light where Red Bull's Ricciardo clearly gestures in Bottas's direction.

Ricciardo later said: "The battle with Valtteri, I wouldn't call it that fun. I felt a bit of a knock on the inside, but passing him back felt good.

"I gave him enough room. I guess with the damage, he went in pretty hot. Definitely over the top, but I wanted to still get him back on track as opposed to wait for a penalty."

LEWIS HAMILTON delivered gushing praise on his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, as he heads for his summer holidays with the largest points advantage in five years.