Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Bottas believes he’s driving “a bit better” this year

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says he’s raised his game in his third season with Mercedes.

What they say

Bottas was asked whether he thinks he’s driven better over the first three races of the season.

Better, I think. Early on in the season, a lot of races left, but I would say in general a bit better. So, carry on.

At the moment I’m just disappointed I didn’t win because obviously when you start from pole there’s only one goal for the race and by pure pace I think Lewis, he was strong in the first stint but I know that second and third stint, being at the front, I could have done the job, I know myself. But it was all about the start. So that’s why it’s disappointing.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The 1,000th world championship race didn’t live up to the hype, says @Careypatrick:

They promoted this event for a full year before, and now its come and gone and no one will remember a damn thing about it, except that it was a dull race. It should at the very bare minimum, have been held at a European track, big enough to hold plenty of fans. It should have started on the Wednesday before the race and had vintage events and all kinds of things to promote the sport to both veteran and and potential new fans.

But I’m sure that commemorative coin looks good sitting in Chase Carey’s desk.

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Author information

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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37 comments on “Bottas believes he’s driving “a bit better” this year”

  1. Maybe Liberty can make something out of the 1009th race.
    1009 is special as it’s the first four-digit prime number.
    The 1009th championship race deserves more than a commemorative coin, and it will be held in Europe.

    1. Gotta love a prime number fact. Good job.

    2. @coldfly: Brilliant! And if Liberty goes FTA, could get a prime time audience boost.

    3. I love you, @coldfly. :O)

  2. Bottas has had a great start this year, that’s for sure. Game on Hamilton!

    1. @rpiian Not sure if it’s “game on” for Hamilton. Despite Bottas having a great start to the year, he is still behind his teammate. So when he starts having more Bahrain-esque races, I fully expect Hamilton to destroy him in the WDC table.

      1. Yea… he trails in 2nd by 6 points after 3 races. Can’t deny it’s his best start to the season for Merc. Not saying Hamilton can’t drive a race well, but those results aren’t by coincidence.

    2. SparkyAMG (@)
      19th April 2019, 9:15

      Bottas was really strong for the first handful of races last year relative to Hamilton but had terrible bad luck. The test for him will be from Canada onwards, and particularly after the summer break where Hamilton has hit his stride for the past few seasons.

  3. BlackJackFan
    18th April 2019, 2:51

    Love the CotD – commemorative coin… Duh…!

  4. I still think, more like hope! that Ferrari can extract more pace from the car.

  5. Didn’t look to me like it was only the start where Hamilton was quicker than Bottas. Hamilton pulled out a comfortable gap fairly easily and managed it. The only time Bottas got close was when he got the undercut but Hamilton just drove away from him again.

    1. Seems Bottas has adopted Nico Rosberg’s finger in ears and talk loudly approach to the truth this season.

      Nico: I dug deep, I had to give it everything, I couldnt even see my family I was so focused.
      Everyone else: Mate your car never broke down and Lewis’s did 9 times. Pipe down.

      1. Everyone else

        nope, only the ones with colored glasses ;)

    2. At face value one can agree with you. Hamilton was clearly quicker.

      But this doesn’t take into account the cooling and tire issues these cars have when they’re behind another car. If Bottas had gotten a better start, who’s to say he couldn’t have controlled the race. It’s always easier drive fast when you’re in the front. Once one thing goes wrong, it cascades and it’s possible Bottas couldn’t recover even with an undercut. (Not sure what the in/out laps were like, I didn’t watch the race)

      All I’m saying is, if Bottas remained in 1st from the start, Hamilton would have had a little more competition. And Bottas said he’s working on this, so…

  6. I am shocked Albon is Driver of the Day.
    What’s next?

    Let’s give Verstappen Delayed Driver of the Day for Monaco 2018 GP! He finished 9th!!!


    1. Maybe you should ask Liberty to contact you to name the DotD; saves a lot of fans voting.

  7. Not liking him, but I admit he’s fair. He improved a little bit indeed, not enough to make any difference at the end of the day. I’m afraid this year will be mostly 2017/2018 revisited, AUS being just 1 of those few races in the year where HAM has no answer.

  8. I’m really getting to like Albon – seems like a decent, well balanced guy unlike some of the brats on the grid.

    Valtteri is definitely better so far this season in my view but I still do not think that the team will allow him to win if Lewis is close behind. That is just part of being second driver in a top team :(

    1. @nullapax ”I’m really getting to like Albon – seems like a decent, well balanced guy unlike some of the brats on the grid.”
      – Agreed. Same here.

    2. Agreed. Gasley I am looking at you, slow AND a brat.

  9. I still do not think that the team will allow him to win if Lewis is close behind.

    +1. Exactly the part I forgot to mention.

      1. What garbage. Mercedes aren’t Ferrari

    1. Absolute rubbish. He was squarely out of championship contention if you’re referring to last year and the year before the team even ‘allowed’ Lewis to hand back a place at Hungary when he was behind Vettel in the championship.

      I think you need to direct that comment at the red cars @mg1982 – 3 team orders in 3 races. 100% team orders this season!

      1. 3 team orders in 3 races. 100% team orders this season!

        That’d be something at the end of the season, but at the start?! @RB13 @mg1982 @nullapax

  10. Sergio Perez says he thought he was “going to get a contract for 2014” with Ferrari and Bottas thinks he’s driving “a bit better” this year. Interesting articles.

    1. Maybe you misunderstood what Perez said.

      He WAS going to get a contract for 2014 if he wanted it – Domenicali invited him to sign a pre-contract for 2014. He turned it down because he had the chance to join McLaren in 2013 already, which he thought was a better prospect than driving for Sauber again in 2013.

    2. So people, myself included, have short memories. I saw many comments on the Perez-Ferrari article saying that Button crushed Perez. I too had it in my mind that Perez was well beaten.

      I went back an looked at the stats. According this link here: , Perez beat Button 10 to 9 in Qualy. Although he lost out on points, he had close to 70% of Button’s total. So not a “crushing” by any means.

      It’s good that he didn’t go to Ferrari, because he would have been absolutely destroyed by Alonso, essentially because the F14T was an absolute dog. Alonso dragged that car to a decent result from time to time. Look no further than the points tally, Alonso had 3 times that of Kimi. I think Perez’s reputation may not have recovered after that. Just look at what happened to Vandorne.

  11. going by past statistics would you put your money on a 5 time champion, a driver that almost always pulls something out of the bag at the make or break moment. or would you put your money where there is a off chance of a positive return? mercedese is not ferarri they seldom make those decisions. i do believe they allow their drivers to race for the most part

  12. I agree with Chandhok, and I also agree in principle with Palmer except for the part about agreeing with Ferrari’s driver-swap in the last race. I thought and still think it was the wrong thing to do as Vettel couldn’t run away from his teammate after all, so, therefore, it was back to square one all over again. A little bit similar to overtaking on the regular roads; What’s the point to pass someone if you then can’t get away from that driver?

    Regarding the COTD: As I pointed out yesterday; I don’t really see a point in fussing over which venue got to host the 1000th WC event. Most of the European venues are too cool/cold for F1’s liking at this time of year especially the likes of Silverstone and Spa, but also Red Bull Ring and Hockenheim. Even the ones in the Mediterranean climate zone can get unpleasantly chilly earlier in the spring, so not really worth it to shuffle the race calendar for one season only to then reshuffle it for the following season. Things would just get unnecessarily messy and complicated, so wouldn’t really be worth it.

  13. New Bottas lasted less than New Coke.

  14. Agreed with Albon’s opinion of his drive, saw a compilation of all his overtakes on facebook and they were all pretty regulation, a lot of DRS or passing seemingly injured or just plain old slow cars.

    The performance was definitely flattered by the lack of competition.

  15. Yes, New Coke fizzled out.
    And now for something completely different. I am sure the experts will weigh in on this.
    One of the consistent things that has mystified me is the propensity for drivers to eschew shaving during a race weekend. Heck, even C Horner has taken up the practice.
    The thought is that having 3 mm of stubble has a cooling effect by spacing the balaclava out from the skin. Maybe it makes breathing easier? Waiting on an analysis for that one from A Newey and Scarbs.
    Last year Bottas was always clean shaven on race days but this year, it’s the same as the other drivers and he is driving better. Coincidence?
    If there is a performance benefit from this, clearly the FIA needs to ban the practice to give the teenagers a level playing field, not to mention the advantage this give the male drivers over any female contestants.

    1. @rekibsn Christian Horner seemed to fashion the designer stubble when things started getting serious with a Ginger Spice so think she might be responsible. As for the facial hair performance thing… the ‘tache’ certainly ain’t giving Vettel and particular performance advantage atm 😉

  16. Have to say I’m a fan of Bottas’s new attitude, a bit disheveled but upbeat, kind of ‘yeah, go for it, whatever, let it happen!’ A later season Daryl Dixon, survived the worst, hangs around the edges doing useful stuff, manages a good smile when needed.

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