Bottas doesn’t want my help to finish second – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t think Mercedes will ask him to help Valtteri Bottas beat Sebastian Vettel to second place in the drivers’ championship.

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Red Bull’s junior driver programme deserves more credit, says @Flatsix:

There’s no entity that has brought more men to F1 than Red Bull. They operate two teams at the highest level of motorsport with the very clear idea that if you do good in junior series you’ll be among the lucky to drive for Toro Rosso and if you do good again you’ll get to drive for a team with a very good pedigree, likely on you way to win grand prix races.

Next year we’ll have two Toro Rosso drivers, two Red Bull drivers and two ex-Red Bull drivers (Vettel and Sainz), that’s a whopping 30% of all drivers, among which three grand prix winners.

Yes they are harsh but at least they give talent a chance, and if you’re not good enough you shouldn’t be in F1, a method all teams use. Nobody is blaming Renault for dropping Palmer, or Sauber for dropping Kobayashi, or McLaren for dropping Magnussen, or Sauber for dropping Nasr, or Lotus for dropping Maldonado, or Haas for dropping Gutierrez, or Sauber for dropping Sutil, or Force India for dropping Di Resta…

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54 comments on “Bottas doesn’t want my help to finish second – Hamilton”

  1. Colin NotMcRae
    10th November 2017, 0:10

    Good to see Fernando acknowledging Lewis’ racing ability, a factor often ignored by some F1 fans in online debates. Commonest refrain about Lewis by armchair experts, even here, usually is, “…it’s the car, not the driver.”

    1. Indeed, Just having the best car doesn’t guarantee success…. Yes it helps but you have to be one of the top drivers to consistently maximize it’s performance through a season.

      There are plenty of examples of very good drivers getting into the best car & not doing as much with it as a faster team mate. Valterri Bottas this year been one example, He’s a very good driver capable of race wins (As we saw in Russia & Austria this year) but he hasn’t got anywhere near as much out of the car as Hamilton has.

      Lewis isn’t my favorite driver (ITV & there obsession with him in 07/08 soured me on him a bit) but I would never doubt his talent, He is quite clearly one of the best drivers in history, In terms of raw pace probably the fastest of his generation & one of the best racers/overtakers i’ve had the privilege of watching of the nearly 29 years i’ve been watching F1.

      1. Bottas will probably do better next year; he doesn’t know the car as well right now as Hamilton does.

        1. Another thing is take into account with Bottas, is that he joined the team mid-january. By the point, that car had already been designed around Hamilton and Rosberg.

          He’s been in a car that wasn’t designed with him in mind and has in that light, aquitted himself quite well. Next year onwards will be the real test for him as next years car will be built with him in mind.

          1. @nikkit, mind you, in some ways his performance was actually better at the start of the season – his relative qualifying performance to Hamilton seems to have worsened after the mid-season break, and in some races his race pace was poorer than normal too (Malaysia was once race where he struggled in particular).

            It looks more like, as the season has worn on and the car has been developed further, Bottas has struggled more with the car rather than less, even though he should have been providing input into the development of new components through the season and been getting more familiar with the car.

          2. @nikkit Teams don’t design a car around a driver, the driver gets to contribute and work with the engineers that allows them to set the car up with some accommodation of drivers preferences. Look at the nightmare Mercedes had in setting up this years car following the last minute restrictions on suspensions that hit both Mercedes and Red Bull in the first part of the season.

            Over the winter Bottas will be familiar with the car and team coming into 2018 and that should help him achieve the performance he is capable of. The main issue for Bottas is the performance on the other side of the garage.

          3. Or has Lewis simply upped his game?

          4. @ju88sy

            Cars are to some degree designed around the driver. If the driver has issues with the car then the development turns into trying to fix that issue. Some drivers are better at driving around problems than others and sometimes the media blows things out of proportion but overall cars always tend to suit one driver better than for the other.

            This season the car suited better for hamilton towards the end of the season. At least niki lauda seems to think so and he is supposed to know:

  2. Somewhere out there stands a deckchair labeled “FERNANDO SEAT 1”

    1. @nase +1.

  3. This whole Ferrari thing is clearly analogous to being in an abusive relationship. Would we tell victims (F1) to appease their aggressors (Ferrari) because ‘they (F1) wouldn’t be anything’ without them (Ferrari)? Seriously come on!

    1. No it´s not, stop trying to bring your social justice modern feminism rubbish onto an F1 site.

      1. This person doesn’t like justice, the oppressed, modernity, or women (but not in that way).
        We don’t need people like this in a F1 site.

        1. I guess we know exactly who he pictures getting abused when someone says “abusive relationship”.

      2. I think you should look up the word “feminism” in a dictionary.

  4. @Flatsix – very nice and deserved COTD.

    1. Agreed except “nobody is blaming Sauber for dropping Kobayashi” part. He was and still is totally on F1 level and did easily well enough in Sauber to have a seat on merit.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        10th November 2017, 5:09

        Part of me does think though that if Kyvat had crashed into someone that wasn’t Vettel he wouldn’t have been demoted to Toro Rosso. For all we know Verstappen’s first GP win could have been his

        1. Jonathan Parkin, given that Marko is so protective of Vettel – he reportedly complained to Kvyat that Kvyat had hit his driver and was more concerned about Vettel’s wellbeing than that of Kvyat – that move probably provoked him into making the early change.

          However, that probably just brought forward the change by giving Marko an excuse to demote him, because it seems that Marko had already made a promise to give Max Kvyat’s seat at Red Bull – irrespective of how well Kvyat performed that season – and therefore needed to get rid of Kvyat in one way or another. If anything, that was a situation where it probably did suit Marko if Kvyat underperformed and therefore made it easier to justify kicking him out of the team.

      2. @huhhii I was going to say exactly the same thing. Kobayashi lost his seat because of money. He didn’t bring any in

    2. Yes, I think Red Bull have also caused all the large teams to revisit their talent pipelines and how they manage them. The change over 10 years is startling with drivers being groomed for F1 a few years younger than before.

  5. Engine rule backlash is political says Christian. In my opinion it is nothing but a concerted effort to end Mercedes’ dominance. Christian conveniently hides interests of his team behind Ross’ technical expertise, quote “”Under Ross [Brawn], whose approach has always been to do the analysis and research prior to setting off on a journey, for the first time that I can remember I feel that they’ve done that. They’ve recruited some good specialists that have done the analysis. (…)” I understand his approach, probably I’d do the same in his position. However, I can’t be shunned from human factor involved even if an expert like Ross Brawn is involved. When he left Ferrari and came back after taking a sabbatical what he did was in my view teaching the former team a lesson. After everything that happened in 2007. Ferrari needed a lesson. Consequently, Ross managed by ‘little’ help of Mercedes to put his name on the chart of Constructor’s champions. Latter on, he left Mercedes because Toto and Niki were playing their games against him. Now, the time has come to teach Mercedes a lesson. I consider major chassis rule change as the first assault on Mercedes’ dominance, nothing to do with Ross though. Obviously, it wasn’t enough. Now it will be major engine rule change although we see engine performance converging. Sadly not at Christian’s desired rate.

    1. I’d like to think Ross Brawn isn’t as childish and thin-skinned as a certain President and, unlike a certain President, has more on his mind when determining policy than petty vengeance for a perceived slight.

  6. Duncan Snowden
    10th November 2017, 7:44

    That’s a great COTD, not just in its own right, but also in the context of the Ferrari threat. F1 should be far more worried about losing Red Bull (which, as I understand it, is more or less a done deal) than any empty sabre-rattling from Maranello. It’s worth pointing out that both Ferrari drivers are Red Bull protégés, Kimi being the very first, from back in the Sauber days.

    1. Duncan Snowden, then again, by next year you could potentially have as many as four drivers (i.e. 25%) on the grid who have been been through Ferrari’s driver academy (Perez and Stroll are fairly certain, and they could be joined by Leclerc and Giovinazzi as well), with one team being heavily supported by Ferrari (Sauber) and another with a technical partnership with them (Haas) – so their input into the sport is substantial in its own right.

      Also, is Kimi really a Red Bull protégé? Yes, he was at Sauber at a time when they had sponsorship from Red Bull, but I’m pretty sure that Red Bull’s junior driver scheme only started after he had already entered F1 in 2001.

      Vettel and Klein are generally considered to be the first drivers on their formal scheme, whilst Bernoldi was in the forerunner (the Formula 3000 team that Marko ran, and Bernoldi did enter F1 for Arrows in 2001 with help from Red Bull). As far as I can tell, Kimi had no sponsorship or any obvious signs of being backed by Red Bull in his junior career, nor am I aware of them having helped broker his move to Sauber either.

      1. I didn’t say he came out of the programme, but RB’s sponsorship of Sauber certainly assisted his F1 career.

        And it’s a fair point that Ferrari have belatedly started an academy system, but it doesn’t alter the fact that the loss of Red Bull will be a major blow to the sport.

      2. Kimi was not a Red Bull junior driver. In fact, Sauber got backlash from Red Bull at the time because Red Bull wanted Enrique Bernoldi, and ended up having to park him at Arrows because Peter Sauber did not agree, preferring to take a punt on the upcomer. Unsurprisingly, Red Bull didn’t complain for very long, though it was McLaren’s money buying out Kimi’s contract that really got his top-line career launched (otherwise he’d have been a Sauber driver for the first three years of his career).

        2018 proteges by allegiance. Note that in a few cases, multiple involvements are involved; in such cases I’ve listed all of them, so the total count is more than the total number of drivers:

        Red Bull: 5 (Vettel, Riccardo, Sainz Jr, Gasly, Hartley) + possibly 1 more (Kyvat)
        Ferrari: 2 (Perez, Stroll) + likely 1-2 more (Leclerc and/or Giovanazzi)
        McLaren: 3 (Hamilton, Magnussen, Vandoorne)
        Mercedes: 2 (Ocon, Hartley) + possibly 1 more (di Resta)
        BMW: 1 (Vettel) + possibly 1 more (Kubica)
        Williams: 2 (Stroll, Hulkenberg)
        Benetton/Renault: 2 (Alonso, Grosjean) + possibly 1 more (Kubica)
        Porsche: 1 (Hartley)
        Force India: possibly 1 (di Resta)
        Apparently independent: 3 (Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen – six days as a Red Bull junior does not count, in my book) + probably 1 more (Ericsson)

    2. I think you’ll find the first Red Bull driver was Gerhard Berger…

  7. Yeah Hamilton does deserve easy titles..

    And yeah Bottas should earn his #2 spot.

    Infact Mercedes and Ferrari should get better #2’s

    Look at Red Bull, STR, Force India, all getting good drivers, meanwhile Ferrari and Mercedes stick to reliably second.

    If say Max V was in second Ferarri maybe Lewis title would not be that easy with two Ferraris chasing him.

    1. Yeah, the two equal drivers worked great for McLaren in 2007

      1. They still had the most points in the WCC (although they were disqualified) , and both their drivers missed out on a WDC by a point each… which is a heck of a lot better than having Massa and Raikonnen in that 2nd seat.

  8. Chase Carey is one of these guys who is gifted at making an argument that is filled with counter-factuals and patently wrong, yet it sounds compelling to the analytically-challenged.

  9. Vettel: “Looking back, it’s Baku that stands out. The rest I think has been okay.”
    Good luck to Ferrari for next year then… your driver seems to have a realistic view of his performances..

    1. Meaning, the rest was just racing. He’s exactly right.

  10. Luck obviously had a part in Hamilton losing 2016, but I still think Hamilton will think there were definitely opportunities he missed that could have turned it around despite his bad luck. Easing off towards the end of 2015 once he secured his championship and allowing Rosberg to carry momentum into 2016 likely leaves a bad taste in his mouth and I don’t expect it’s a mistake Hamilton will make again.

  11. Funny Hamilton should say Valterri dosent want my help, he wants to win on merit.
    How many times has Lewis either asked for help or accepted help from the team?
    Hamiltons race wins were still won on merit right?

    1. Well I’m sure VB would ideally like to not need help, but if circumstances arise and it’s needed, I don’t see why he or the team wouldn’t ask, so it’s a bit strange for LH to say he doesn’t think they’ll ask. That will all depend on how things shake out in the race. LH has received help and I’ll assume he feels he merited it at the time(s).

    2. Hamilton was responding to a direct question asking him if he will help Valterri come second…It was a crap question on

      1. Maybe they should have worded it differently, Will you pay back VB for all the help he has given you this year, or are you going to complain if VB gets the better strategy for once?

    3. Yes, Hamiltons results are largely won on merit. You might take his Malasia 2013 podium as an example of how dejected Hamilton gets when he doesn’t feel like he’s earned a result.

      Hamilton didn’t ask for team orders, and on the podium, he didn’t have the demeanour of a man who’d earned a result.

      Times when Hamilton has requested being let past so he can go on the attack or for a teammate to back up a driver he’s attacking are all part of the team game. Hamilton has never asked to be gifted a position. Even this year with a championship fight going on, he gave a position back to Bottas rather than accept 3 points he didn’t earn.

      What Hamilton is saying here is that he won’t gift Bottas a place if he’s ahead of him just so Bottas can take 2nd in the WDC.

  12. Alonso has been making lots of very nice comments about Hamilton over the last couple of weeks. In my opinion, he’s doing his best to ingratiate himself with Mercedes and set himself up for the seat alongside Hamilton if things don’t go well at McLaren next season.

    1. Well that would certainly be awesome to see and super exciting for F1 overall. Seems like that’s been put to bed though, although I guess you never know. I do find it hard to imagine VB being at Mercedes after next year.

  13. Alonso really should swallow the sour grapes he’s been chewing for 5 years in regards to Vettel. Let it go man. During Vettel’s RBR days I will admit I was one of the naysayers but I have come round to appreciate his talents. It’s actually beginning to look like outright, irrational jealousy now. He needs help IMO.

    1. Can’t see whatsoever anything FA has said about Seb to make you state what you have in those last two sentences.

  14. The Guardian – I have not seen a positive F1 story from that lot since the demise of Bernie. So much negativity from each of the “writers” on that rag it’s wholly unbelievable.

  15. The playbook for new Concord agreements:
    1. FOM suggest new rules
    2. Manufacturer teams express reservations about new rules while Ferrari threaten to quit.
    3. FOM say that they understand the teams’ reservations but the new rules are best for the sport.
    4. Ferrari threaten to quit and create a new racing series. Other teams suggest it’s an interesting idea but not one they’re actively pursuing at the moment.
    5. FOM digs its heels in and says that they run the sport for everyone not just the rich teams.
    6. Ferrari create a new company to look at the creation of a new series which is joined by McLaren, Mercedes, and Renault.
    7. FOM folds and completely waters down the new proposals.
    8. Everyone is happy again and we start the new season under the new(ish) rules.

  16. COTD:

    Next year we’ll have two Toro Rosso drivers, two Red Bull drivers and two ex-Red Bull drivers (Vettel and Sainz), that’s a whopping 30% of all drivers, among which three grand prix winners.

    This stat isn’t worth as much as you think. I wouldn’t play that percentage game with F1’s tiny little circle of 20 drivers.

    25% of all current F1 drivers have driven for McLaren (!)
    20% of all current F1 drivers have driven for Ferrari
    20% of all current F1 drivers have driven for Red Bull
    20% of all current F1 drivers have driven for Sauber
    20% of all current F1 drivers have driven for Williams

    1. @damon Driven for is a different thing than ‘brought into the sport by’.

      1. Three of the drivers likely to be on the grid in 2018 were brought in by McLaren, as opposed to 5-6 by Red Bull (depending on whether Kyvat gets the nod at Williams).

        In fact, it is typical that a team with two seats and a junior driver scheme has 3 drivers from its junior scheme in F1 at a time (this is or is likely to be the case for Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault, and Ferrari may well beat that benchmark). Red Bull has four seats, so having possibly as many as 6 drivers in its junior scheme in F1 at a time is par. Now, if Red Bull was replaced by a manufacturer and a privateer, then that would be a net loss in driver training. However, if replaced by two manufacturers or equivalently-funded driver schemes, we would expect the same number of drivers to be brought into F1 as Red Bull has done.

        It goes to show that getting drivers into F1 is largely a function of how many F1 seats one controls, combined with whether the team can afford a full junior driver scheme.

  17. Ofc. Bottas doesnt want or need Hamilton to “help him to second”. Bottas needs to prove himself right now and weather he ends up 2nd or not doesnt really matter, especially not if its by team orders.

    1. Why? Hamilton is not shy to celebrate a win by team orders, would it mean any less if VB did it?

  18. @Flatsix I agree in principle with your COTD, but your last sentence is, to paraphrase your nickname, flatwrong. Kobayashi was dropped for the useless Gutierrez who cost the team more money than he brought if you compare his zero points to the score Kobayashi was capable of bringing. Nasr is F1 level driver no question. If Ericcson wasn’t the baby of the owners do you think they’d have dropped Nasr and not him? Mclaren was wrong to drop Magnussen when Button himself admits that he stayed in F1 a year too long and his heart wasn’t in it.

    So clearly, not all the drops you’d mentioned are consensus and I, plus quite a few others do blame the teams for them. You’re entitled to your opinion but not to speak for me or others

    1. It’s not clear Kobayashi – or anyone else – could have scored more than the occasional point with Sauber in 2014. The car was pretty poor (though there was certainly slower machinery on the grid) and the team seemed to have the perfect knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of… …points. Kamui was definitely in a different league from Esteban in terms of talent, but I’m not convinced that Sauber was any better a place to display this than Caterham turned out to be.

      Gutierrez was not useless, in that it made it possible for Sauber to afford an engine with which to attempt the season. Even Kamui can’t score points if there is no engine, for such a car would never pass scrutineering.

      That said, I have seen objection to each and every one of COTD’s cited examples. The F1 fandom is a big place.

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