Pressed to justify another disappointing performance, Valtteri Bottas has revealed that his Mercedes W12 will not be similar to that of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Without saying more, the Finn believes he has a natural deficit on his F1.
Qualified third, Bottas was penalized three places. After a poorly managed training lap, he went off the track and fell to 11th at the start of the race. He then spent nine laps behind Lance Stroll. Facts which nevertheless seem difficult to justify only by the differences on his car.
« I found out the reason, but I cannot give details » Bottas said, in response to his disappointing performance in the race. « My car was not the same as it was, nor the same as Lewis. There were small differences in the cars. »
This is obviously nothing new, the teams fighting for the title offer the freshest parts to the candidate driver for the championship. However, the single-seater has not changed since the British Grand Prix.
The difference must therefore be limited to the specifications, Hamilton surely recovering the parts most suited to the settings and the balance of the single-seater according to their availability. Toto Wolff also returned to his pilot’s race.
« We know he can fly when he’s in the lead, so the speed is there » said the director of Mercedes F1. « I have absolute confidence in him for the last two races, and I hope we have a good car. Valtteri will be in the front then, because we need him there. »
Bottas receives another round of criticism
Bottas’ performance in Qatar was mixed again, and his risky strategy stemmed from his poor start to the race. Former driver Timo Glock believes that the Finn is not present enough for Lewis Hamilton, and sees the same at Red Bull for Max Verstappen.
« He’s never in a position that gives the impression that he wants to support Lewis Hamilton » Glock said. « I think he races safely, and Toto Wolff always needs to motivate him on the radio. I think Lewis and Max are on their own to decide this championship. »
An opinion shared by another former pilot, Giedo van der Garde: “It was another limp race from Bottas. I was like ‘come on man, brake a little later!’. In turn 2 he was just letting people pass him. He goes through those corners like he’s scared. . «
Ralf Schumacher explained to Sky that Hamilton is now the favorite, believing that « Max shows how good he is but under normal circumstances he doesn’t stand a chance ».
He thinks Mercedes will also be careful to follow the rules: “We’ve seen that Mercedes is pretty quick and doesn’t need to cheat. I don’t think they’ll be willingly breaking the rules. If you do that, you’re in a gray area and things can go wrong.”