Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Sochi Autodrom, 2017

Bottas already better than Raikkonen – Lauda

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas has surpassed Kimi Raikkonen as F1’s top Finn, Niki Lauda believes.

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Dave tips Mercedes’ run of Monaco wins to end on Sunday:

I expect Mercedes to struggle here. Long wheelbase car, heavy, not a good recipe for this kind of track.

Hamilton was not even using a drink bottle in Spain to save weight, which must have been brutal. Monaco is often a full two hour race so I’m not sure he’ll try that again, but it underlines that Mercedes have a weight problem. I also suspect they sacrificed some more weight gain again to get the new narrower nose for the aero benefit, which is why the team probably told him no water.

Red Bull could be back in front here. I expect the car to come with some crazy monster-truck ground clearance at the back again. Last year the car looked like it was being wheeled from behind with a dolly. It seems to work to maximize low speed downforce—use the whole car as a spoiler. Ricciardo was also seriously unhappy about last year, and he’s coming with some fire.
DaveW (@dmw)

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On this day in F1

  • Jacques Villeneuve took pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix today in 1997.

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  • 68 comments on “Bottas already better than Raikkonen – Lauda”

    1. Rockie Smith
      24th May 2017, 0:13

      Man is losing his marbles, when he wins a WDC he can be compared to Kimi, right now he’s no different to Hekki!

      1. He means right now. Raikkonens title was 10 years ago. He also said maybe.

        In terms of a career Bottas has to win a title before he retires or would not have been as good as Raikkonen.

        Right this second maybe he is better and will stretch the gap. This is a bit like saying Bottas is better than Jackie Stewert. As of this moment he is….doubt Jackie Stewert, Alain Prost etc could get anyware near Bottas in the same car this weekend.

    2. It’s certainly possible that represents Lauda’s honest opinion. But even if he did not feel that way he has every reason to say what he said. Stating “Bottas is poor, we badly need to get Alonso next year” would both discourage Bottas (possibly costing Merc a shot at the WCC) and encourage Alonso to demand a lofty salary if Mercedes want him.

      1. I dont see the line-up at Merc changing next year. Bottas has essentially slipped into the team and got on with it, minimal fuss. He’s also proven to be a steady hand is a willing team player. Lewis is in a happy place as there isnt the baggage both him and Nico carried to contend with. All in all, a perfect scenario.

        Things may get interesting if Bottas starts beating Lewis on a regular basis. Bottas has shown he has the pace to lead and win races, but he hasnt been able to do so consistently, but, its a long season.

        Bottas’ job is to pick up the pieces when Lewis has an off day. He’s done that well so far, and all the signs point to him continuing in the same vein. Come year end appraisal time, baring a significant drop off in performance, he would have hit his KPIs, which will result in a contract extension.

        1. I remain hopeful that they are racers, and will pick up FA while they are the only team in the position to deliver him a competitive car worthy of him while his F1 career is in it’s sunset. Are they really going to let him go elsewhere? And where? Renault is saying they won’t be ready. Are they really going to watch him go to waste? Have us do the same?

          I’ll take the fireworks from two WDC racers over another year of LH/VB any day. And TW needs to think past 2018 too. He doesn’t know if he’ll have LH so is he going to risk having no LH or FA? Can’t see it.

          1. Agreed. Everyone wants to see Hamilton vs Alonso in the same car going for the WDC. It was a little but underwhelming when Bottas was announced.

            Being a Hulk fan also, I hope Alonso does not end up at Renault. The team at Enstone are proven to be able to produce a championship winning car, but when this has been the case there is a clear number 1 driver, with a reliable number 2 driver to bring the car home in the points. Given the talent that the Hulk possesses, it would be a pity if this was the role put on him and expected of him.

            1. @bamboo Totally agree on the Hulk part.

            2. I think that if Alonso doesn’t win at Indianapolis this year (and the chances are slim in my opinion), he might consider full Indycar switch. If his ultimate goal is the Triple Crown, that would be the best option. Without a championship winning car in F1, what’s the point in staying? He could consistently fight for victories in Indycar, gather experience and genuinely enjoy himself at the same time.

            3. @bamboo
              I’d guess that Nico’s talent would ensure he’s the number 2 in a potential pairing with Alonso. If Perez can make Nico look average, I’d hate to think how bad he’d look with Alonso as a team mate.

            4. I think I’d rather see Vettel and Hamilton in the same car going for the WDC. The Alonso v Hamilton fireworks is old news. So for 2018 I’d like Hamilton to Ferrari, Alonso to Mercedes and Raikkonnen to Renault (if his heart is still in it – sorry Jolyon). If those three teams plus Red Bull get on par with each other it would be a fantastic season with 8 potential ’18 champions! Bottas has been inconsistant so far, it’s still early days for him at Merc and his attitude shows he has real potential. I still find it weird I’m not even considering McLaren to be a contender!

    3. That Zandvoort video really highlights the devolution of sound in F1. People were up in arms when we went from V10 to V8, but hearing that now compared to the current V6s got me excited.

      Its all about the explosion of the senses. Does it look good? Does it feel good? Does it sound good? Nailing those three points goes a long way to attracting new and returning people to the sport, with the “feel” aspect not as simple as the other two.

      I think I’ll leave “does it taste good” out of this.

      1. I was rather impressed about the track itself watching the onboard you see the track turning, rolling going up corners just out of sight. It’s really too bad that F1 doesn’t race there anymore. Everything looks still the seventies :) so that should be the first to be updated.

        1. @macleod I think this version of the circuit dates from the late 1990’s. But yes, with the elevation changes and awkward crests it feels a lot earlier and it’s great to watch. About half the circuit is still the old, pre-1997 layout. If you have the opportunity I urge everyone to visit Zandvoort for a great experience.

        2. @macleod
          They’d definitely have to ruin it to make it Grade 1, barriers are just too close.

          1. @george, it wasn’t even really fit at the time when the circuit was in use for the Dutch GP – between 1952 and 1985 (the first and last official Dutch GP’s), nine different drivers were killed at that circuit in different races, including two F1 drivers. Even in fairly recent times, there have been fatal accidents at that circuit – Henk Schoorstra was killed in 2010 when his car caught fire because marshals couldn’t come to his aid quickly enough.

            There were also some near misses during some races too – in the 1985 GP, for example, Lauda nearly crashed into a recovery vehicle which, in the middle of the race, decided to pick up a stranded vehicle by driving along the track.

    4. Its great to see Sebastien Bourdais moving around. Im sure it will be a very slow go of it, but the fact that he is up and going after such an impact is remarkable. I wish him a full and quick recovery.

      1. Yeah gives us little reason to doubt he will be back at some point to see through his career as normal.

      2. @sprint9
        Apparently he told Dale Coyne that he wants to be back for the season finale at Sonoma. Coyne told him no chance!

    5. Alonso and Mclaren need to be credited for that setup. Obviously, on a track where every car is flat out all the way for the 4 laps, what’s going to cut it, is the setup. Of the fast 9 only 5 were really quick, one stood out, Dixon but the other 4 were really strong, Alonso included.

      1. For sure, not just the setup, but the setup after an engine change. Nailed.

        1. They’ve got quite a bit of experience in setting up after an engine change.

      2. @peartree Agree with most of it, but it isn’t really McLaren setting up the car. Sure there are McLaren engineers, but primarily they lean on Andretti’s knowledge and input.

      3. @peartree
        Carpenter stood out too, considering the Honda PU seems to have the edge in quali trim.

        Alonso did a good job I think, considering it’s his first time on an oval. He beat Andretti, who has plentiful oval experience, and was very close to last year’s winner in the same car. I’d guess Dixon and Sato really trimmed out their cars, judging by the speed difference.

        disclaimer: I know nothing about ovals

    6. Only Lauda would even think and say something so outrageous. And which Raikkonen is he talking about; the 2005-07 Kimi or this one? Either way he is so wrong, when Kimi has it turned on he is top notch. Bottas doesn’t even have the raw talent that got Kimi into F1

      1. How often does Kimi have it turned on these days? That’s the problem.

        That said, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Bottas is relatively young and full of fire, whereas Kimi is at the end of his career, apparently happy to play second fiddle to Vettel.

        1. Raikkonen disappoints every weekend, l can’t remember one race since he came back to Ferrari where he’s had me shouting at the telly

          1. At least not in a positive way, his Monza pole sums him up

      2. And which Raikkonen is he talking about; the 2005-07 Kimi or this one?

        Glad you mentioned that because it is an important distinction. The “2005-2007 Raikkonen” is the one we all love and the one his fans still hero worship. The “2014 – present Raikkonen” version is the one we have at the moment it is that version of Kimi that hasn’t done much over the last few seasons to show he deserves a top line drive. I can’t think of another driver who could have been so routinely routed by his teammates over these last few seasons and still be in a Ferrari seat.

        1. Really? I can think of two! How about Massa and Barrichelo? (I completely agree that 2014+ Kimi has not done anything to show he deserves his seat – except keep their number one driver (Alonson/Vettel) happy)

          1. @danielh, Barrichello retired at the end of the 2011 season, so he is hardly what you would call a “recent” driver. It also has to be said that he did still beat some fairly highly regarded team mates, such as Hulkenberg back in 2010.

      3. We don’t have 2005-07 Kimi anymore. I assume Lauda isn’t comparing Bottas with a driver that doesn’t exist.

      4. Fukobayashi (@)
        24th May 2017, 10:13

        You’re dreaming mate. Kimi is well past it and at times embarrassing to watch, he should not be in a Ferrari this year, Vettel just wanted an easy ride.

      5. I was impressed with Bottas already from his F3 days. He won the Zandvoort Masters of F3 twice. If anything, races like that shows who the raw talents are.

        He looked a bit underwhelming in F1 for a while, but I attribute that more to the failure of the Williams team and their (Rob Smedley’s) focus on helping Massa along rather than Bottas not being talented.

      6. Typical PR nonsense from Niki. That’s like Ron Dennis saying that Kovalainen is currently better than Hakkinen after his Hungary 2008 win. As a rear gunner I agree. He’s been more usefull to Hamilton than Kimi has been but to say that’s really a compliment?

        We also tend to remember and compare drivers during their peak years. Senna for all his heroics in a Toleman and Lotus is mostly remembered by his Mclaren Honda days.
        Prost became a 2 time WC with former WC’s as teammates. If that doesn’t scream ”world class driver” at the time I don’t what does. Yet people remember him mostly for the rivalry with Senna at Mclaren and later their 1990 rivalry when Prost was at Ferrari.
        Schumacher is mostly remembered for his dominant spell at Ferrari while in years before the drives he was producing in the bad cars were better than probably 90% of his wins after 2000.

      7. @scuderia_fan85 They’re the same driver. During his ‘peak’ he was partnered against Massa, rather than against a multiple world champion as he has been more recently at Ferrari. And it’s not like he particularly put Massa in the shade – during their time together Massa scored more wins, more poles, finished more races ahead, and matched Raikkonen for podiums. The Ferrari just happened to be the class of the field during that time so the end results were often race wins, plus one WDC title. In fact, but for a few elements of circumstance, Massa would likely have won one of those as well.

        Any time he’s been partnered with a real premium driver, at any point in his career, he’s been eclipsed. He is able to put in the odd good performance, and he’s a very likeable character who is a solid(ish) second driver.

        But Lauda is right in saying that Bottas is the better driver, if you go by the results so far this season. He’s the only one of the four drivers in a top team who has ot won a race, he has the fewest points and has scored the fewest podiums. His points total as a percentage of his teammate’s score is significantly lower than that of Bottas. Really at almost no point has he looked like matching Vettel on pace either in qualifying or during a race.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Raikkonen a lot, but you have to be realistic and objective when you look at the results he’s had throughout his career. His best results were in a period when Ferrari had the strongest car but the weakest driver pairing. He’s certainly not in the same sort of bracket as Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, etc, and is arguably less consistent than several other ‘decent but not amazing’ drivers like Button.

        1. @mazdachris Simply not true. Montoya was regarded as the ‘fastest guy in f1’ until he got destroyed by Räikkönen. Kimi came extremely Close to beat in-his-prime schumi with a not top notch mclaren. Look at his 2005 monza not-Pole lap with the heaviest car. Is he one of the best atm? Probably not. Was he top notch in the mid 2000s? Definately

          1. I’d agree that he built his reputation very early on beating JPM and Coultard in the McLaren. Although DC is, frankly, hardly one of the greats, and he only partnered JPM for a single year so it’s potentially as anomolous as the year Vettel spent being trounced by Ricciardo. A sample set of one is hardly representitive.

            But yeah, those early noughties seasons were the ones where he gained his reputation. I guess because of how well he was regarded, when he went on to become champion it perhaps seemed like vindication. But in retrospect I think by the time he moved to Ferrari his best days were already behind him.

            1. @mazdachris I think Räikkönen only had one amazing season and that was 2005. I think that had to do with his tire management skills (as tire changes were banned that year), so he was able to go quick not only in qualifying, but also in the race. Still he lost that championship by a decent margin due to typical McLaren unreliability and a weak start to the season. However, the rest of his career wasn’t nearly as good. In 2006 he failed to win a single race, and he squandered a lot of points with sloppy mistakes (remember him running into a Toro Rosso while leading in Hungary) and his Ferrari years were rather underwhelming too (especially 2008). His comeback started well as he was very steady in 2012, but his form declined in 2013 and from then on he got destroyed by Alonso and Vettel at Ferrari.

    7. I will reserve my comment till he matches the same number of F1 wins and podiums.its still a long way before Bottas comes close.

      In the present state if points is the only differentiator then Lauda is right. Kimi has underperformed so far but it would be foolish to rule him out. I think he has it in him for at least a couple of more wins e

    8. Nah, son, nah. You the champ, but you’re over your head, son. Its like me saying jean todts wife is hotter than you’res Niki..which leaves the question..why are they even with your fugly asses? F up nik. So ssshhh. You’re reign on the top was short like Bernie.

      1. Away and eat some pasta(it’s good for dizziness). Hope you have a prenup. Call up the embassy and have a bucket of beluga.

        1. Good comment supporting the ‘Don’t Drink and Drivel’ campaign :p

          1. He fell off of his own post there in the middle!

    9. “I would say Bottas is now as good as Rosberg was. And maybe a bit better than (Kimi) Raikkonen.”

      Better in what aspect? Bottas has made the least fuss whenever required to be the second fiddle. Seeing that that is a valuable trait in F1 drivers in the eyes of teams; yeah Bottas is better….

      1. Honestly, it’s a little too soon for Lauda to make that statement. We stillll don’t know whether Bottas’ Sochi performance was a one off, or an indication of his expected future form. But in regards to being a more compliant teammate, I agree, he’s already better than Rosberg and Raikkonen.

        1. It’s an insult to Rosberg, that guy was fast almost every weekend, on pole regularly, won a bucket of races and and an F1 champion.

          1. @ Fran There is only so much a team can do if your number one driver (Hamilton) keeps fluffing his starts and otherwise keeps getting unlucky. Mercedes was the fastest car by far last season and despite not being the number one driver on the grid, one of the drivers at Mercedes won the championship.

            I don’t think the comment above yours is in any way an offense or insult intended to ROS, neither can they be denied on the basis of points you mentioned..

          2. Yes Fran, but who is Lauda’s comment aimed at? Is it directed towards Hamilton and meaning “you are not indispensable as we have another potential champion in the team”, or is it directed towards someone like Alonso and meaning “your price and expectations are too high, we have all the drivers we need. Lower your expectations and we might be able to talk.”?

            1. Lauda is probably answering a question.

    10. MG421982 (@)
      24th May 2017, 6:52

      Truth hurts many times, but Lauda is right, this is the reality. Nobody gets faster with age, RAI is no exception it seems. Rossi in MotoGP seems to be no exception either, he obviously lost some speed. Michael Schumacher was no exception either, ROS dominated him. And because of this aspect I think RAI will be the only driver with a winning car (only Mercedes and Ferrari are winning cars so far, of course) available who won’t win a race or get a pole position this year! The other 3 drivers got at least 1 win and 1 pole position… RAI didn’t.

      1. Leave him alone. He knows what he is doing.

      2. He’s wrong about Rosberg.

        1. I think Lauda is pumping up his driver, and that’s understandable. What would be the point in not doing so? Of course he is going to compliment VB. Of course he is not going to say, this early in the season, we’re going after FA.

          I like VB and have been impressed with how quickly he has gotten up to speed etc etc. I wish him the WDC this year but do not expect it. But what Lauda is not saying is that KR is a proven WDC and VB has not proved anything yet in that regard. And VB is also no FA. Those are the other sides of the coin that I would not expect Lauda to say at this point.

    11. And so it begins…..

      Renault “refining” it’s timeline on upgrades – doubt we’ll see anything substantial until close to the end of the season.

      2015 reloaded?

      I can see various dummies being spat out again fairly soon..

    12. I would love to see Renault walk away from Red Bull and leave them with a Honda engine.

      1. I’d love to see Renault deliver on some of the promises they made about performance for 2017.

        They’ve been really fortunate that Honda has made them look a lot better than they are in terms of both reliability and performance this year.

      2. With Honda having two “current year” clients for 2018 would their choice be between Ferrari and Honda if one of them was forced by the FIA to supply them? @john-h

    13. GhostPepper
      24th May 2017, 9:26

      2005 Raikkonen > 2017 Bottas

      1. 1) Raikkonen = Finn
        2) Bottas = Finn
        => Raikkonen = Bottas
        => Raikkonen + Bottas = Tufins
        #ILoveMaths ;)

    14. “Red Bull, as always, is making wrong communication about performance development.”

      Thank god Renault is communicating the right message:
      (they’re probably very happy with Honda making them look kinda decent)

    15. Kimi is the oldest driver on the grid and isn’t in the same form he was a decade ago. That being said Raikkonen is already a legend in a lot of people’s minds and Bottas has a long way to go earn that.

    16. Renault may not be in line with winning races anytime soon, but they’re at least winning points.

      Makes me wonder what potential contract details there would be for Alonso.
      I’m sure if he fails to win the indy500, McLaren could say they’d allow him to go again (with their Honda partnership).
      But in the event Alonso does take the win at indy: Does LeMans become a talking point in negotiations? Would it be a factor in which team Alonso chooses? If Renault were to make such a deal, would Hulkenberg also want in?

      1. I don’t see FA doing Lemans until after he has left F1. I also don’t see him staying with McHonda, so I don’t see a return to the 500 until some other arrangements are made, again likely after he has left F1. Imho of course.

        1. I guess it also depends on how long Alonso is willing to stay in F1 if he can’t get a title contending seat.

    17. He actually meant ‘better than Hamilton’…

    18. Indy related.

      We have been playing around with a helmet camera here at Indy & we expect Graham Rahal will be running it during the race. Not exactly as small or aerodynamic as would be ideal & its been a struggle to find somebody to agree to run it but after using it in practice Graham has agreed to.

      It’s basically a much larger version of what FOM were using in F1 a few years ago on top of Bottas’ helmet.

      1. How about this one:

        Seems like a recurring theme for Honda not being able to get on top of their engine failures.

    19. @keithcollantine

      Thanks for adding some twitter responses about Nicky’s passing. I am amazed how widely liked and loved he was. Nicky is a prime example that a hard working good, honest, always fair and humble guy can make it to the top while being a fan favourite (though he never was the most successful) without needing to be a megalomaniac.

      RIP Nicky!

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