Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Bottas: Huge points gap to Hamilton doesn’t reflect my performance

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says the 129-point gap between him and Lewis Hamilton does not reflect how far behind his team mate he has been this year.

What they say

Bottas said a combination of misfortune and having to play a number two role is why he’s so far behind Hamilton.

In everything I do I try to be competitive. For sure it’s not easy, by nature. I think every driver here is also here because of his mindset and what they’ve previously done in their careers to get here.

I can’t say it’s easy, but there are reasons why. I do play as a team player, because I believe that’s always the way forward, I don’t think there’s any point in breaking any trust with any team member.

For sure the points’ different is huge, it’s massive, that’s a fact. For sure a big part of that comes from what my role in the team has been since the halfway of the season.

Since the halfway [point] of the season I haven’t really finished ahead of Lewis, and also during the year I’ve lost a lot of points with unfortunate happenings, particularly in the earlier races. Performance-wise I don’t think the points difference would be 130 points. I know that and the team knows that too.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Guenther Steiner deserves credit for admitting Haas got it wrong with their fuel numbers in Austin, says @Phylyp:

Props to you Mr Steiner, for stepping up and admitting it was an error. I half expected him to complain about the unfairness of the disqualification. Good stuff.

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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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  • 63 comments on “Bottas: Huge points gap to Hamilton doesn’t reflect my performance”

    1. On Bottas: the gap kind of does show the difference in performance. It is 129 in 17 races – roughly 7.6 points per race. Consider that Hamilton won 8 (or 7 minus sochi) races, rightly justifying the 7 points margin per race (25 to 18), more so because Bottas did not finished 2nd every of those races. Other than that Hamilton only finished behind Bottas in three races. Yes, Bottas played for the team a couple of times, but most of time Hamilton did performed better and by one or two positions – again roughly 7 points per race.
      If the difference is due to Bottas unfortunate events, than that is a different topic.

      1. If points don’t show the true difference due to his wingman tasks, then let’s compare quali performance.

    2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      26th October 2018, 1:48

      After the Japanese Grand Prix I went through every race and using the points calculator and the interactive race data from every race I tried to estimate where the drivers in the top 6 would have finished every race without bad luck or team orders, things like Bottas winning in Russia instead of Hamilton or Hamilton winning in Australia instead of Vettel I did change, but I didn’t change Vettel’s result in Germany or Japan because I felt those were Vettel’s errors. I also took out team mistakes. I came up with that Vettel and Bottas would be tied on points, 68 behind Hamilton.

      1. I did the same very scientifically and had Alonso leading the championship, with Hartley a close second :P

        1. @coldfly – you said what I was thinking – we can engage in all manner of whataboutery to conceive any result that we might desire :-)

          1. Let’s call it by its name: confirmation bias. I’m fairly certain I can name two races off the top of my head that were either not considered, or only considered one-sidedly, that would affect this calculation rather significantly.

        2. I disqualified Hamilton on a technicality, predicted Vettel will keep his run of form and Kimi wins the championship

      2. @leonardodicappucino I really don’t understand the amount of energy spent to produce such irrealistic and unuseful analysis. If my grandpa had 5 balls he would have been a pinball.

      3. @leonardodicappucino what about raikkonen? no team orders, no team errors, no bad luck retirements

    3. The tweet about no live race in the US is just plain wrong.
      Instead of it being on cable-only ESPN, the US and Mexican races are on the free-to-air ABC network — which is fantastic because it’s even available in Canada, and they show the races without commercial interruptions (unlike the Canadian broadcasters, TSN and RDS).

      1. @mtlracer Well actually the tweet is correct depending on your time zone. The race starts at 1910 GMT. On the west coast of the US, the race is being tape delayed until 2110 GMT.

        1. Classic “we must broadcast at prime time” behaviour there.
          I remember NBC got panned for doing the same thing with Winter Olympics earlier this year.
          Is there a legitimate ABC online option? That would be live, but more inconvenient.

          1. @eurobrun is where you can watch the race live

    4. Thank you for the COTD, Keith! Bit unexpected for this one having been chosen. :-)

      1. @phylyp: Congrats on your CoTD. With one of your rare politically correct statements. Maybe we lobby Keith for the SoTD (Sarcasm of the Day). Then you…and especially some more cynical commentors have a chance

        1. @jimmi-cynic – I agree, I wouldn’t mind seeing one Sarcasm/Joke/Funny otD being called out in the round-up. There’s definitely a load of fun comments that come through, and we could all do with a few more laughs in the morning. And don’t worry, you’ll be in line for a SotD far ahead of me!

          1. @phylyp: So there’s hope…

            Did Keith say when he’ll send your ample international F1 pundit payment? Will you be shopping for a 720S or a Huracán?

            1. Will you be shopping for a 720S or a Huracán?

              Both of them, actually.

              A 1:24 scale model, though.

        2. I’m all for the SotD and a daily Caption Competition, @jimmi-cynic.

          Now we only need to find a place for those people who can solely see the good in their own driver, and lambasting all others. Maybe MotD (Myopia of the Day).

          1. @coldfly: MoTD! Yes! Maybe make it a podium of myopia spraying bubbly vinegar across the screen… with an alternate bad timing screen option.

          2. @coldfly – joking apart, I have to say I do miss the Caption Competition!

      2. @phylyp the quality of the comments is really on a downward spiral if you are getting COTDs now

        1. @johnmilk – ha ha ha ha ha 😊

          True, I’ve probably chased away all the good commenters.

    5. That’s an interesting pair of articles in the round-up – one talks of banning (and BMW supporting the ban on) mission controls, while the second one talks about how machine learning might be the next step in crunching the data gathered by teams, to arrive at decisions faster than humans can.

      I’m an IT guy, and yet I’d be curious to see how an unemotional computer can cheekily pull a dummy around the pitstops!

      1. Scary thought really – how long before they try an AI driven F1 car?

        As for mission controls, I can’t say I’m a huge fan but them I’m probably too old school. I’d rather see humans (and a limited number) making decisions at the track without the benefit of the terabytes of data they have access to.

        Maybe they can find some cost savings by reducing their reliance so much on data.

        1. @dbradock – I’m half-and-half on this one. I don’t mind mission controls to sift through the data, find patterns, identify trends. But I do like the idea that all of that is used to assist humans, and it is those humans in the loop that pull the trigger on strategy. The idea that even that decision making will be obscured by machine learning is – while technically impressive – a bit off-putting.

          You know what just occurred to me? They should turn off data gathering in the free practice sessions. Let the drivers use their bums and eyes to determine what works and what doesn’t. Let the pitwall just look at FIA-provided timings and speeds.

          It will keep the spirit of FP alive, while hopefully levelling the playing field (for the one race weekend before the teams come up with creative ways to work around it).

          1. @phylyp I like it :)

          2. @phylyp: Excellent idea. Until we see teams installing USB type-C ports in the cockpit to connect the onboard entertainment systems for the drivers. Come in for a fresh set of tyres and a fresh thumb drive…

            1. @jimmi-cynic – “Data exchange? No, Charlie, I just got tired of my current playlist”.

        2. Scary thought really – how long before they try an AI driven F1 car?

          And you still think it was a real person who won last week ;)

          1. @coldfly good point. There’s always been something a bit robotic about Kimi lol

          2. LOL @coldfly !

            @dbradock – an AI in the place of Grosjean or Stroll might make the track a safer place, wouldn’t it?

    6. Forget the performance gap between F1(A) and F1(B) – the reliability gap between the top two PU suppliers and the other two* is just as big. Amongst each of the six cars supplied by Mercedes and Ferrari, just one has breached the PU component usage limits.

      * admittedly, we probably don’t have the clearest picture of how many Toro Rosso PU changes were due to failures/issues, and how many were PU experiments.

      1. You are forgetting theres a team in F1(A) using “the other two” engines. Kinda disproves your entire theory.

        1. @rethla – I am talking only about the reliability gap between the 4 PU vendors.

          1. @phylyp ok then it makes sense.

      2. quite striking indeed, @phylyp. Not one single Renault(TAG)/Honda PU driver has beaten any of the 12 Mercedes/Ferrari PU drivers on reliability so far.

        1. @coldfly, both Sainz and Vandoorne have used slightly less PU components than Bottas up until now.

          1. @bakano – umm… no? The three of them are tied, having used the same number of components. Which is why @coldfly qualified his comment using “beaten”, not “matched”.

            1. @phylyp Indeed. I incorrectly “saw” one extra 4 for Bottas in the right-most columns.
              Sorry about that @coldfly

      3. I believe however the STR-Honda is a bit overblown with them trying to push upgrades week in week out. There is a more important team to make happy next year

        1. @johnmilk – agreed. I’ve no evidence, but I’d peg them on par with Renault.

    7. In fairness to Bottas, he has had his strategy sabotaged throughout the year in order to be Hammy’s rear gunner.

      He even had to move over for Hammy in Russia and gift him a win.

    8. I kinda feel for Bottas. The fact that Ferrari brought a more than competitive car this year has meant that for a large chunk of the season both Hamilton and Vettel have been driving at the sort of level that you’d expect from multiple WDC’s

      To go up against them both driving at around their peak is pretty daunting, those two are exceptional and he has to raise his game even further if he hopes to be a WDC himself. He’s close and I believe has had to work harder than Rosberg because he (and Vettel) have pushed Hamilton to another level, but he has to find that higher level himself in 2019.

      Really no shame in losing to Hamilton they way he’s been driving this year.

      1. @dbradock – very nice comment.

        Others have attempted to perform what-if analysis to see where Bottas would have been in comparison to Vettel and Hamilton if some events had played out differently. After reading your comment, I think people should first be comparing the two Finns to assess how Bottas has done.

    9. Unfortunate news, Robert Wickens has confirmed he is paralyzed from the waist down. An absolute shame, he had a fantastic start to his career in Indycars. I applaud the safety advancements indycar has introduced with their new car this season. Its something that kinda flew under the radar with the car’s first season. However the tracks and the shear speed of theses cars is just a combination that doesn’t work. You can improve the cars ten fold, but the elements around the cars also have to change. And it’s not like this is some sort of a freak accident. The series has been in this situation before, numerous times.

      It’s a risk every driver and fan know will never be completely eradicated. For me at least, an American who has grown up to love oval racing for both Indycars and Nascar, I think its time for Indy to move on from these ovals larger than a mile. But as I say that last sentence, lets not forget Dario Franchitti had his career end going over the back of another car and hitting a catch fence…on a street course. Where do you draw the line of circumstances compared to lack of safety? What does Indycar do to identify the problem of these cars launching over the back of one another? We’ve seen in 3 different generations of car now, all at different speeds. Here’s a start, investigate the catch fences. Mike Conway breaking his back at indy, Dan Wheldons death at Vegas, Dario’s career ender, Wicken’s crash. All involve catapulting off a car and into a fence that makes the crash worse.

      1. @jeffheinick – very nice comment.

        I think its time for Indy to move on from these ovals larger than a mile

        As someone who doesn’t follow any racing series, I’m curious why you say this? Is it that these large ovals allow cars to hit very high speeds that then make them go tangentially off the track in an accident?

        1. Ugh – As someone who doesn’t follow any US racing series

        2. as an oval racer in sims, it is absolutely the large tracks allowing the huge speeds. as is the case with any size of oval, the vast majority of incidents will cause the car to head towards the outside wall. when that happens, there is little to no time to scrub off any sort of meaningful speed, especially when these cars are running so quickly with such little downforce so there is very little braking force compared to other kinds of tracks.

    10. Ambivalent feelings about Bottas. Earlier this year only bad luck prevented him from 1 or 2 wins. He was way better than the points table showed. But then again, he is driving rather bleak the last couple of races. Granted, Mercedes put all their money on Hamilton, but why was Bottas so slow in Austin? Why was he unable to keep Verstappen and Vettel behind him when they came from the back of the field?

      1. @matthijs agreed 100%. Bottas seems like a nice guy and is pretty fast on certain tracks (like Sochi or Baku) but those are far and between. Also, during the year he seems to get worse with every race that passes and becomes even less competitive as the (theoretical) title gets away from him. Rosberg was a lot more fierce in his ability to fight with Lewis.

        What i most dislike about Bottas’ performance is that sometimes he has these anonimous races, like in Austin, where he has a great car under him but manages to finish 3 places (and over 10 seconds) behind a guy in a slower car who started 18th, all this while he started 3rd. That’s kind of a wasted seat if you ask me.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th October 2018, 8:33

          My thoughts about Bottas is bad luck affects his later performances. He needs to keep his confidence up. I actually think he will have had his confidence boosted a huge amount if he was leading the championship after Baku. A similar thing happened in Sochi. He was solid that weekend, things didn’t go his way and then he looked a bit like that has affected him the following races. I know he is the number 2 and the team player, but I will admit he’s had several weaker races recently. But then I still think Hamilton had a rather slow start to the season by his standards and that was the same last year. I still think that the majority of the time, he’s doing the job well for what Mercedes want. Hamilton is just making him look worse.

          I know he is certainly not as good as Hamilton, but I worked out that if I took away his bad luck in the first half of the season, he would be over 60 points better off. without that bad luck and with more confidence, I think he will have at least beaten Vettel this year. Lets see how things go next year. I think that overall, he’s at a similar level to Rosberg. In terms of doign a good job for the team. But it is difficult to compare them. Rosberg was at fault for and involved in a lot more incidents than Bottas. Even many with his team mate. When Mercedes were almost always 1 – 2, the tension between Rosberg and Hamilton caused a retirement of them both. Bottas just doesn’t let that happen which is a good thing in some ways. He’s not as good at fighting as Rosberg, but it is a bit difficult to compare now the cars are more often balanced with Ferrari and Red Bull sometimes too. Mercedes did have Bottas for over a season and a half when they confirmed him for another full season, with and option to continue at the team, so I still feel that there could well be a chance that he gets the 2020 drive if 2019 is just that bit better. He just needs luck on his side to boost his confidence and performance IMO. They I think he will keep that performance up.

      2. @matthijs

        Agree completely. Except for the opening race of the season, Bottas actually matched (if not bettered) Hamilton for the first 6 to 7 races of the season. He was unlucky not to have taken a couple wins in China and Baku. But since the British GP or the German GP, Bottas just hasn’t been as good as Hamilton. As you mentioned, he has a few race weekends where he just doesn’t show up, and he has the tendency to fade towards the end of the season instead of getting stronger.

        However, Hamilton’s found another gear, which I just don’t think Bottas, or even Vettel has. You can’t really blame Bottas for such a large deficit to Hamilton this year. Even if it wasn’t for Bottas’ bad luck and races where he’s played #2, he would still be around 70 to 75 points behind Hamilton, which is more respectable, but still not good enough to give Hamilton a strong fight.

        1. If we look at the results, he matched, but if we look at lap time differences during qualifying and the races, he is still lacking. With Leclerc and Vettel in next year’s Ferrari, and with Verstappen and Possibly Gasly, in a supposedly more powerful Redbull, those few tenths he appears to fall behind with, will become even more of a challenge, because rather than qualifying 3rd or 4th, it may suddenly be 5th or 6th and life becomes difficult from those positions.

          1. Fair point. He has been trailing Hamilton in qualifying by a large margin on occasion. I think if Bottas does underperform in qualifying next season he’ll be either P4 or at worst, as I don’t expect Red bull to be as competitive next year as they have been this season. But you’re right. He does need to up his game for next season if he wants to finish in front of either Ferrari driver.

            1. I just don’t get that vibe from VB that the gloves will come off. Even with his shining moments this season, VB just doesn’t strike me as able to sustain a season long fight for the WDC. Absolutely he’s better than his numbers showed this season, yet…VB never pressured LH and instead his pressure came from SV. And that’s a big part of the problem as we know. VB ‘simply’ needed to, as he will in 2019, come out of the blocks dominating both LH and SV. That’s the only way he’ll earn for the math to go his way instead of LH’s. And I just can’t see it. I can’t see VB dominating LH for one thing, but then to think of him dominating an LH that would be a different teammate if there was a real rivalry going on, is another. The atmosphere on the team would not be the same, and imho LH would become the wolff (pun intended) to VB’s lamb-like personality. It’ll be interesting to see where Merc and Ferrari sit between themselves next year and that will certainly affect things for VB et al.

    11. I agree with Bottas as well as the COTD.

    12. Self made US billionaire Gene Haas agreeing deal with @rich_energy CEO William Storey to create Rich Energy Haas F1

      I actually did not see this coming, after seeing Claire meeting with him. Seems like Mr. Rich Energy made his rounds.

      1. Me neither. I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing how this pans out! William Storey seems to me a pretty stand-up, grounded guy.

        1. Hi Zim – based on what, I wonder…?

          1. I like the fact that he looks different (sign of a character), I liked what he said during the bidding process for Force India (very logical and clear-cut), and I liked what he said when he lost the bid (gracious in defeat).

            Somehow I suspect you will never read this, though, BJ Fan.

            I, too, am somewhat of a bj fan.

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