Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2018

Bottas impressed how Hamilton “keeps getting better”

2018 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas says he is paying attention to Lewis Hamilton’s technique as his world champion team mate keeps improving.

Hamilton has won the world championship in both seasons since the pair became team mates. Bottas said he’s “really impressed” by “what Lewis has done in such a short time, achieving that many championships, race wins, poles.”

“It’s not easy to keep at the top,” said Bottas. “The last two years he’s been the best in Formula 1 and there’s always other drivers that are hungry to try and beat him so it’s definitely not easy to stay there.

“He’s been able to stay there at that level for many years. I think sometimes it feels like, and Lewis has said as well, that he keeps getting better. It is impressive. I have big respect for his achievements and he truly deserves those.”

Bottas ran Hamilton close early in the season but dropped back in the championship standings and ended up having to hand victory to his team mate in Russia. But he believes there is still much he can learn from the five-times champion.

“It would be silly not to try and learn because every driver you’re racing with is different. Different driving styles, different ways of setting up the car, different knowledge on different kinds of circuits, different corners, et cetera. So [I’m] always watching closely, no matter who is my team mate.

“But especially it would be silly not to watch what Lewis is doing in terms of his driving and what kind of things he’s exploring through the race weekend. It’s simple things: racing lines, driving style, car set-up. Those kinds of things.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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18 comments on “Bottas impressed how Hamilton “keeps getting better””

  1. Yeah, I have also been impressed by how Lewis has grown further and further into the driver we saw this year.

  2. Give Bottas time, he’s still new to the team. Once he gets his bearing, he’d wash Lewis clean. I believe he is on par with Lewis. Give him time.

    1. I seriously doubt he’s on Lewis’ level, but I’m sure he can give Lewis a better fight in the future.

      I wouldn’t rate Bottas as high as Rosberg, and Rosberg wasn’t quite on Lewis’ level either.

      1. Strangely enough I never rated Rosberg all that high, but his records speaks for itself.
        It would have been interesting though to see how he’d have fared in 2017 and 2018 as Hamilton seems to have found another level since he lost the WDC in 2016.
        Bottas has been unfortunate enough to come up against him at what seems to be his peak.

        1. Rosberg admitted the lengths he had to go through to best Hamilton. I think he knew exactly how he would have fared against a Lewis Hamilton driving with a point to prove, & that’s why he retired.

          1. Guillermo Magillicuddy
            16th November 2018, 0:42

            Rosberg beat Hamilton for one reason – his car was much more reliable than Hamilton’s for whatever reason.

        2. simple. Hamilton would have destroyed Rosberg. that’s why he retired. I have no problem with that!

      2. it’s interesting comparing hamilton’s team mates – he’s had some absolute crackers. alonso, button, rosberg, all world champions. rosberg was a bit lucky but he still scored the points and was flying in qualifying in 2014 especially – we’ve not seen that from bottas.

        bottas had an excellent early part of this season, and was pretty unlucky not to get at least 1 win (baku). but, like last year, as the season has progressed he’s started to look more like kovalainen than a true champion. it’s got to be make or break next year and he’ll have numerous potential rivals for the seat (if they have good years and/or crappy cars, you would say russell, ricciardo, verstappen, etc are all on mercedes radar)

        1. I think Renault and red Bull have pulled a few solid moves by locking Verstappen and Ricciardo down in multiple year contracts.

          If Charles Leclerc will make Ferrari a much stronger team than they have been over the past 4 seasons, then Mercedes will have to reply with a stronger #2 driver. Ricciardo would have made a great replacement for Bottas in 2020. Verstappen would also be a great replacement to take the mantle from Lewis.

          What will Mercedes’ best option be in 2020? Russell? That’s a bit of an unknown. Ocon? He’s no better than Bottas.

    2. I want to smoke what you’re smoking.

  3. Personally think that Alonso was the best partner Hamilton could’ve hoped for on his inception into F1, convinced it left a permanent mark in a positive sense. I believe what Alonso did for Hamilton is what Hamilton has done/did/doing for all the team mates he’s had since. Some have pushed him respectively but all in all the cauldron of baptism is what made him who he is as an F1 elite. Hopefully Bottas grows into such an elite…

    1. *reply below

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. McLaren 2007 with Alonso was certainly a baptism of fire for Lewis. A lot of people talk about Lewis always having a good car in F1, but he’s always had some cracking teammates as well… & in 2007 there were none stronger than Alonso. There was nowhere for Lewis to hide in his rookie year & he rose to the challenge. & now Lewis represents that veritable cauldron to anybody who signs on as his teammate. Tough job, but that’s the name of the game: beat the best.

  5. What has always amazed me is Lewis’ ability outside of his own car: he notices what other drivers are doing* and uses that in his own racecraft. Whether to attack or defend, to look after his own car & tyres at the expense of those around him – Monza this year was a good example where he let Kimi ruin his tyres going fast through the corners to stay ahead while Lewis went slower through the corners and used the tow to keep within striking distance.
    He is also not afraid to use different lines through corners to unsettle a slower opponent in front, or merely to keep his aero working. Max is also capable of this, but most other drivers will follow the car in front on the racing line and never get any closer, even when substantially faster.
    Lewis is, however, lucky in having a fast, consistent car like the other drivers in the top three teams in that they can concentrate on the little improvements and keep getting better. Can you imagine poor Sirotkin and Stroll trying to do that in this year’s Williams? Just trying to go around the corner the same as last lap and finding themselves in high-speed reverse! Mostly for them it would be a case of turning up to a race and hoping to make it to the finish without finding a wall, let alone honing their craft to a high polish like Lewis is doing.

    * excluding in 2011 for some reason

    1. “Lewis is, however, lucky in having a fast, consistent car like the other drivers in the top three teams in that they can concentrate on the little improvements and keep getting better.”

      I don’t call that luck… especially not in the case of Lewis & Mercedes, considering that partnership was against almost everyone’s advice & judgement (Lewis deserves his just dues for making a ballsy move & delivering on his end of the partnership). None of the top drivers are ever “lucky” for scoring a seat in a good car. The best teams with the deepest pockets have the luxury of choosing the best drivers available to them… they always have, therefore any driver getting paid big bucks to drive for one of those teams has to come highly rated, with abilities already very highly polished… & not just anecdotally: F1 is a data driven sport, & though engineers, mechanics & other personnel change teams quite often, they all still peer at the same screens while listening to the same radio convos & watching the same lap time counters tick away. There’s a general consensus on who the big guns are & while there’s usually a buzz in the pitlane whenever a driver does something spectacular or unexpected (Lewis’ qualy lap in Singapore, for example) the consensus remains the same because there’s usually very little subjective wranglings involved in the ratings in the first place. The best drivers always end up in the best cars… even in Alonso’s case, because he’s one of the few drivers who’s always had his pick though he’s not always chosen wisely, walking away from the sharp end of the grid twice.

      1. Lewis is lucky to be driving one of the cars in one of the top 3 teams in that the cars are nearly always consistent and so their drivers can concentrate on improving the little things. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a top drive as he most certainly does, just that those top 6 cars are so much better than the rest. I put the obvious counter-example of the Williams drivers who in races like Silverstone had no idea when the rear of the car was going to give up and come around to meet them in the middle of a corner. That must be terrifying white-knuckle driving and in those circumstances drivers are not going to be after the little improvements but are instead just trying to catch the stall and hopefully stay on the track.

  6. Eric Thiessen
    16th November 2018, 0:57

    As unfair as pulling Hamilton’s crew members and putting them on Rosberg’s team may have been, combined with the horrible starts caused by clutch issues, culminating in the Malaysian GP engine failure whilst leading caused by Mercedes experimenting too much with the oil mixture, that cost him a WDC, mentally, it has given him the toughness that we’ve seen these past two seasons and it has made him damn near impenetrable mentally. Contrast that with Verstappen and Vettel and it’s obvious what an advantage that gives him. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t surpass Schumacher’s 91 wins and 7 WDC’s (and I know, given his rookie year and the year Rosberg “won”, he’s sort of already got 7, but 7 that even his worst critics cannot argue about).

    1. @Eric Thiessen what do you mean “won”? by that reasoning Hamilton also “won” in 2008 because of Massa’s failed engine in Malaysia or his pit stop in Singapore… it’s just part of motor racing. Hamilton has won 5 championships fair and square, I’ll be glad to see him reach 7 or even 8 why not, I think he’s better than Schumacher (although I wasn’t watching F1 regularly until 2007 so I haven’t watched much of his dominant years).

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