Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

“I should never get upset” when Hamilton is quicker – Bottas

2018 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas ‘beat himself up’ at times last year when Lewis Hamilton was ahead of him but says he needs to accept there will be days when his team mate is quicker.

“Lewis is a great driver and I should never get upset if he is quicker than me at times,” said Bottas during today’s test. “Then I just need to accept it and learn from those.”

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Pictures: 2018 pre-season testing day eight
“For sure I was beating myself up a lot last year when I was struggling but that’s all part of the learning process.”

Bottas believes he has “all the tools” to be world champion this year. “I’ve had five seasons in Formula One and my second year with this team,” he said. “I won some races last year so I know I can do it.”

Nico Rosberg’s championship win in 2016 gives Bottas encouragement that he can beat Hamilton to the title as well. However Bottas said it’s not his style to “go into a complete mental fight within the team.”

“Instead of that I’m going to focus on my own performance on the track and being quick on track in qualifying and races. I’m focusing all of the energy on that.

“For sure Nico worked very hard, it took three years for him to beat Lewis but he did it and showed it’s possible by working hard. That’s why I believe it’s possible.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on ““I should never get upset” when Hamilton is quicker – Bottas”

  1. I can’t bear to read his comments about Hamilton anymore. When will Merc put him out of his misery :'(

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th March 2018, 12:43

    Bottas is a straight shooter. If he can beat Lewis on merit, I’ll be the first to tip my hat off to him.

    Lewis might even tip his hat off. It must be nice to have a teammate who wants to compete and simply wants to prove that he’s better than Lewis.

    1. lewis had a team mate that wanted desperately to prove he was as quick as him named nico… that didn’t go down too well in the merc camp

      i would say lewis is much happier now that he has a number 2, bottas is solid but not as good as rosberg was at pushing ham.

      thank god we had a competitive ferrari last year, if it had been lewis vs bottle in 2014-2016 it would have been horrible

      1. That didn’t go down too well? I’d argue that they survived their strife and knocked off 1-2’s at a trot for three years straight, and wanted two more years of it (2017 and 2018) having re-signed Nico only for him to retire. And then last year that didn’t happen. They won it of course but not without competition this time and not with a 1-2 in the WDC. In fairness to VB, first year with the team and all…but if VB can’t provide stiffer competition to not just LH but SV and MV, TW might just be wishing he still had the likes of Nico putting them back into 1-2’s and closing the door on Ferrari and RBR like before. He sure wanted Nico there last year and this.

        1. i didn’t word that well, i was referring to the atmosphere. TW has said multiple times that the tension in the merc garage didn’t make a fantastic work place over the LH/NR period. Having a less competitive team mate to lewis has made a happier place in merc, obviously they wanted to keep nico.

          It will be interesting to see if VB can close the gap this year but I’m not confident. Ric has already stated he is interested in that seat.

          1. Nico getting lewis setup and drive strategy all along and play dirty in the field didnt realy create a fair/liveable atmosphere at all! Also team helping Nico more than they did for Lewis didnt make it look well… despite Nico’s dirty style he wasnt punished as if whole team wanted/made (an agreement for) nico to be wdc and retire…

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        9th March 2018, 13:13

        @azzimus Well, no one was as good as Rosberg at pushing Hamilton….if by pushing you mean literally pushing him off track.

        No one views Bottas as a #2 driver, if he can win the championship, he’ll have every chance of doing so at Mercedes with the full support of Mercedes. As Bottas is saying, it’s up to Bottas to prove himself. Of course, Lewis has been with the team for 5 seasons now so he has a long relationship with everyone and that could be an insurmountable advantage but those are the rules of the game – if you go to Barcelona, you can’t expect Iniesta to treat you like Messi from day one.

        The best proof of that is that Mercedes allowed Nico to win the WDC in 2016. No one knows what happened the next day and Wolff will take it to his grave and Nico probably can’t speak a word due to his contract.

        1. Of course they ‘allowed’ Nico to win, because they treated both drivers equally and fairly and let them settle it on the track and therefore Nico prevailed in 2016. Now it’s up to VB to do the same. He’ll be afforded the same opportunity as Nico was.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            9th March 2018, 15:22

            @Robbie “prevailed” is a relative term – he was unemployed, the next day :-)

          2. Lol your unique way of putting it;)

        2. What are you suggesting?
          Nico ended his career by choice.

      3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        9th March 2018, 21:22

        I still think there are too many people comparing Bottas against Rosberg without taking into consideration that Rosberg had been with Mercedes since 2010. If Bottas had been there that long and at Williams before, like Rosberg, then he could well be champion this year. Give him a little time to develop. I think his expectations are perhaps a bit too high, but there is nothing wrong with believing what he can do. I don’t know If Rosberg will have done any better than Bottas last year if he had moved right to the team against Hamilton having never raced against him before as team mates.

        If Bottas is just a little better next year, It could well be the case that Mercedes will see that he will keep developing and getting better like Rosberg seemed to. Unless there is a far better driver available, and I think that is unlikely, I would have thought they would hang onto Bottas.

        1. I think after one season that’s enough preparation tbh. When Hamilton won the championship in 2014 for example.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th March 2018, 15:11

          @thegianthogweed good point – the comparisons between Nico and Valtteri aren’t black and white. Rosberg won a championship but never really beat Lewis throughout a season and as you pointed out he had been with Mercedes for many years.

          The other big difference was that Nico was able to outqualify Lewis on smoother tracks. He would perform better in twisty sections and make up the difference he’d lose in the straights. That actually gave him a great tool to fight Lewis since he could take pole and lead the race.

          Even so, Nico was at a massive skill handicap against Lewis as evidenced by his inability to beat Lewis on merit or even come within a stone’s throw. Even in 2016, the real champion in the paddock was Lewis with a 100 lap lead over Nico – even Verstappen and Vettel couldn’t match him with stellar seasons of their own.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            10th March 2018, 17:03

            While I do agree with some of what you say, although most certainly think Hamilton deserved the title in 2016 more than Rosberg, I still think Rosberg deserved it. He generally did a very good job at doing his best when Hamilton suffered with issues, which is what he was supposed to to and managed to achieve, resulting in getting the WDC. Because of those circumstances, I think he fully deserved it.

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            10th March 2018, 18:24

            The way I’m putting it makes it look like Rosberg deserved it more than Hamilton. That isn’t what I think, but considering what happened with Hamilton’s bad luck, I think Rosberg did enough to deserve it.

  3. I wish VB luck but my gut says he’ll again be shaded by LH and he will have an even stronger SV and MV to deal with than last year, not just LH. If he’s the usual one to three tenths off LH, he’ll open the door to SV and MV. But of course we just have to see where the teams stand amongst each other, and at which types of tracks some prevail over others and at which some are weaker.

    1. Funny thing though Robbie.

      VB was closer last years on aggregate to Hamilton than Nico was across 2014-16.

      He keeps beating himself up but the average qualifying difference was in VB,s favour.

      The issue is the others had closed the gap and as such he looked worse. I am pretty sure that Nico obsession with Hamilton at the expense of any others in the race had it been played out last year, would have meant Mercedes would have lost the drivers champ last year. You cant play the Nico games when you are behind for 14 of the races regardless of how the other teams implode. Bottom line if 16 was 17 – Nico would still be looking for a championship.

      It will be interesting to see how things are this year. VB needs to stop beating himself up and just run his races. Obsessing did not really do Nico any good – a huge slice of luck did that and who knows it could happen again. Particularly with three engines for the year.

      1. I think what you’d have to include in your analysis of VB on aggregate being closer to LH than NR was, is the times LH underperformed last year where he didn’t in 2016, the blame being put on the ‘diva’ 2017 car. For me if you want to replace VB last year with Nico, the continuity there would have meant more 1-2’s for Merc and less points for SV…more points for Merc when LH underperformed. VB needs to obsess over his own performance just as Nico did, for it won Nico the WDC. Nico (and LH) only really had one competitor though (each other) due to their car dominance, and now VB will have more on his hands, but of course can only control what is within his reach to control.

        1. Well actually Mark Hughes considered those “outliers” and thus not included Robbie. VB was quick last year it’s just SV was quicker than other years and the field was much closer.

          Regardless, focussing on his team mate is one thing but he needs to beat Vettel first if you see my point.

          1. Lol ‘outliers’…how convenient.

            For VB I don’t think it is a matter of beating SV ‘first’. While he’s presumably got a WDC potential car he’s got to beat all comers at the same time, with gloves off. But if indeed there is a ‘first’ driver he must beat, I would think that would be LH as he’s the one in the same car, and very potentially the WCC and therefore WDC car. If he doesn’t tackle LH in the first half of the season he’ll be ordered out of any hope of a WDC.

            Of course, we need to see where the teams stand amongst each other. That will greatly affect what VB can and can’t realistically do.

          2. @robbie That has nothing to do with convenience. You know you are purposefully abusing the error created by averages to prove some sort of convoluted point. Just knock it off with that nonsense.

          3. @patrickl Lol I think paranoia is getting the better of you. Stats can be manipulated as one wishes to suit ones argument. Most last year seemed to believe LH was favoured as much as Ferrari favoured SV, with the team orders that VB received. VB had some early success when LH had some off days, and then things reversed, and it was always really looking to be about LH and SV for the WDC with VB not ever really mounting a serious or lasting challenge in most people’s opinion.

            I didn’t bring up NR, DrG did, but does anything that NR did from 14 to 16 sound like he never really mounted a serious and lasting challenge? Claim all you want that VB was closer to LH than NR, but with the orders we witnessed we were all watching LH/SV not LH/VB. And I think we will see more of the same, and I don’t expect VB to challenge LH anywhere nearly like NR did. NR has never even driven this format of cars for us to know how close on aggregate he would have been.

            Why you think there is nonsense in what I’m saying is beyond me, like this bs of ‘purposely abusing the error created by averages’ is some cunning scheme on my part to upset the global mathematical community or something…Lol…please…

            Yeah let’s take a small sample size of 20 or so, throw out some outliers based on one person’s opinion of what defines an outlier, and there you have it…proof.

  4. Bottas is setting himself up for failure by letting the world tell him that he has to beat Lewis. Now Lewis will be guarded and won’t help or speak to Bottas and will go out of his way to embarrass him and not help him. A worse mental situation for Botts. He should have kept his mouth shut now he backed himself into a corner. He should have announced that his main goal is to stay infront of the Ferraris while secretly gunning for the top spot. Openly challenging Lewis is a career Ender. Notice how Vettel doesn’t reference Lewis directly when talking about his performance? Botts to Force India in 2019.

    1. Agree fully with you. Some people forget that this is the same LH who put the much vaunted 2 time wdc in his place, only in his rookie year. No driver has ever done that. Beat NR all his racing life from junior formulas to f1. The Bottas talk and those who support it, only serves to motivate LH more. Good luck Bottas but just keep quite and do the job on track. Quite frankly who are you to be angry being beaten by a 3 time wdc, how much more do you think it was for Alonso beaten by a rookie.

      1. Beat NR all his racing life? You sure?

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    9th March 2018, 13:10

    He’ll be closer than last year now that he’s helped to develop the new car and has settled into the team. I doubt he’ll beat Hamilton overall but he won’t be like Kimi – if Hamilton isn’t 100% on it, Bottas will cause him problems.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th March 2018, 13:18

    Too bad Klaebo is Norwegian, not Finnish. Well, he’s Scandinavian so he can use it, right?

    The team could coin a “Klaebo Time” term for Bottas to match Lewis’ “Hammer Time”.

  7. I don´t know about Bottas, that year when the Williams was actually pretty good, he did well but since then he has not really stood out as being particularly special.

    He should probably do better this year but he is likely going to be crushed by hamiliton again and as we saw with Rosberg, that could really get to him. Rosberg just could not live with being consistently beaten by Hamilton and that is fair enough, he is human after all. He snatched a WDC due to Hamiliton having technical problems and then quit. I don´t blame him, he knew that he was in for more 2nd places after that.

    So what is Bottas to do?

  8. Sensible man, this Bottas guy.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th March 2018, 15:30

      @faulty Just like his fellow countryman, Kimi:-)

  9. Except Lewis was not allowed to compete in China, Russia, Spa and Malaysia due to engine problems. Still the margin was 5 points. I wish people would stop acting like it was a fair fight when Lewis got the only cheap engines. The delusion of some is extraordinary. Lewis won the most races (10) and had the most poles. Moving on. Bottas is simply slow. End of. He got beat by Vettel in Malaysia after Vettel started dead last.

    1. I completely agree on 2016, hamilton was a lot better and with even reliability would’ve been at least 50 points in front, however bottas wasn’t that bad, first part of the season he was closer to hamilton than rosberg was, 2nd part was really bad but he recovered in the end, beating hamilton on merit in abu dhabi, let’s see the 2nd year.

  10. Based on last year, I’d say Bottas is either second-rate #1 driver or a first-rate #2 driver. It’s hard to imagine him being able to beat Hamilton over the course of the season, but he can be relied upon to step up when Lewis has a troubled race (or one of his famous off-weekends) and minimise the damage inflicted by other rivals.

    I really hope I’m wrong though, since if Mercedes obliterate the field again, he’s our best hope for a title battle…

  11. So far it seems Bottas intends to beat Hamilton, Vettel etc in a straight fight on track, sounds great, they all love a race and it would be good for him to be up there mixing it up.

    As far as this rosberg narrative that keeps getting pushed, some people just seem to love ignoring context, Merc provides engines to 4 teams, that’s over 32 engines per year, yet Lewis’s engines alone kept having issues early in the season, when that stopped, he spanked Nico as usual, then BANG in malaysia.

    Now I don’t know for sure obviously, but my tinfoil is tingling, Lewis himself cryptically said he’ll tell us all what happened many years from now long after he’s retired, Nico is declared champion and then promptly retires the next day because he was “mentally exhausted” HA!! I don’t believe that crap for one second, I believe whatever arrangement he had with his old mechanics that were now working on Hamilton’s car for 2016 was found out and hewas fired, but allowed to “suddenly” retire so as not to raise suspicions and bring the Mercedes brand into disrepute. He was the reigning world champion for 2017 yet it was Sky Sports that was bringing him to races and he had nearly zero if not frosty interactions with his old teammates…suspicious much?

    1. Yup you certainly are pushing a narrative with tingling tinfoil hat donned. Amongst your speculative tabloid diatribe is misinformation such as that Nico ‘promptly retired the next day.’ In fact it took nearly a week for him to call Toto, and the concept of retiring was something that he started to consider months previously. Indeed he had already re-signed for two more years with Mercedes and then started to think about his life, his family, his future and made a tough and brave decision, based on having beaten LH. Had he not won the WDC he says he would have done another year.

      He didn’t have an ‘arrangement’ with his old mechanics…the team swap some of the crews in order to maintain fairness and balance on the team. Nico would have had no say in it just as LH claimed they did it ‘for no apparent reason’ meaning he had no say in it either.

      Sky Sport brought him to races? No in fact he is/was still a brand ambassador for the team and was welcome at Mercedes and Sky chose to interview him a number of times and even ask his input on things from what I recall. He was only ever extremely polite and diplomatic and complimentary toward LH and Mercedes, and I believe defended them when they were having their diva days.

      The only thing suspicious here is your motives for claiming utter falsehoods, although I guess the tinfoil does explain some things;)

      1. Don’t think it’s a brave decision to retire when you won a title against a better driver than you that just so happened to have a much more unlucky season than you, knowing you wouldn’t have another chance for reason 1) not always so unbalanced luck and reason 2) more competition from ferrari and red bull, is it?

        I’d consider braver to remain in f1 for rosberg!

        1. You have to let the fact that Rosberg beat Hamilton to the title that season go. If it makes you feel any better – Hamilton is a faster driver 99% of the time (quali and race), and has better race-craft (both just my opinion). However the fact remains Rosberg won the title and thats what the record books say.

  12. It’s a lot easier to feel you’re being treated fairly when you have the same vehicle, which I believe was the case most of the time last year. Lewis is an incredible driver, so Valtteri was always going to use his top game to beat him. An important point to note is that for most of the times when Valtteri finished ahead of Lewis there were cars between them, so Valtteri not only made an important contribution to the Constructors Championship, he finished third in the WDC as well.
    There was a case last year where Lewis said he could overtake the car in front of Valtteri, so Mercedes swapped the cars and Lewis wasn’t able to overtake the car in front and was told to relinquish his place to Valtteri before the finish line. The point being Lewis was no better in that situation than Valtteri was. Lewis subsequently said something along the lines of he’d never relinquish a place to Valtteri again, so one can argue Valtteri shouldn’t do that as well.

    1. Rewriting history there a bit huh @drycrust?

      1. As I recall, indeed LH did do better than VB in that situation in that he was faster to begin with, which is why the team order for VB to let him go, and then LH did indeed reel Kimi in…just couldn’t get by him. That was when at the very last opportunity on the final lap LH let VB back.

        I think as it relates to this headline containing a quote from VB, for sure he now needs to put himself in the situation where he is not slower than LH such that the question of a team order even comes up. And yes, if it does come up again, that will be because VB is not being faster and thus is putting himself in the situation to be upset with himself for not matching/beating LH ala Nico who as he said proved it can be done.

        1. …just couldn’t get by him

    2. Lewise No better? Oh of course was just a little matter of some 15 odd seconds in front of Valterri as i recall it

  13. At… Times ? Have you fecking gone mad, son ?

  14. As if NR would’ve won without all the engine failures!

    Nico was good at being a first class a-hole on and off track. In his best he was still not good world class material and definitely not on LH level. Talking down Bottas because he has a benign personality doesn’t make worse of a driver.

    I like my drivers dominating via skill on track, not skullduggery and iffy backstabbing off track a la NR.

    1. a la “pretty much every world champion ever”. I think it all adds to the interest to be fair and its what last years championship was missing. At the top level of sport its never going to be all nicey nicey. Especially in F1 if the top 2 fastest drivers are closely matched and driving for the same team.

  15. I like Bottas. He’s quietly determined, has a good head on his shoulders and he’s fast.
    It’s a big ask to go up against a world champion who really hit a huge peak after the summer break last year. Hamilton at his peak in that car is pretty much unbeatable and I doubt that Vettel, Verstappen or Ricciardo would find it easy to compete with him either such is his level of comfort with that car.
    This year will be make or break for Bottas and he knows that. I expect to see him come out firing. If he wins the first few races (or beats Hamilton in them) it’s going to be a great year.

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