Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Hamilton regrets being “too friendly” to Bottas at start

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says he was “too friendly” to Valtteri Bottas when he had a chance to pass his team mate at the start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver finished second and lost the championship lead to his team mate on what he described as an “under par” weekend for himself.

“Definitely this is not our strongest race in the season,” said Hamilton. “This has always been a bit of a difficult race for me.”

Hamilton scored his only win at the Baku circuit last year after Bottas hit a piece of debris and retired.

“I just struggle here,” Hamilton explained. “There’s certain races I struggle at compared to others. I can’t really point it out. I got quicker at the end but it was too late by then.”

Hamilton said second place was “a really good result considering and a fantastic result for the team”. He said Bottas “did an exceptional job this weekend, truly deserved the win.

“I would say a bit of an under-par performance from myself so I just need to work hard.”

“I didn’t get the job done in qualifying, he did,” Hamilton added. “And in the race I was too friendly at turn one and basically gave it to him. He drove a fantastic race, made no mistakes, so he deserved the win this weekend.”

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

54 comments on “Hamilton regrets being “too friendly” to Bottas at start”

  1. Barcelona is next. He can do what he did to Rosberg there. Good for the wdc too.

    1. Yeah, a crash into each other can take both of them out (2016).

    2. I seriously doubt that Bottas will just ram his car into Hamilton after making a mistake like Rosberg made.

      1. Oh the other hand, you can be certain Hamilton will run Bottas off the track as he did multiple times to Rosberg.

        1. Ham didn’t have to applogise for being sensible. Its clear to all he had the beating of Bot at the start, he showed his form at the end to make it a thrilling match-up. Had Ham gone wheel to win with Bot it would have been dangerous not just to Bot but the rest of the field. This wasn’t that kind of track.

          That said i expected to Bottas to get the win here, this satisfies the Mercedes brand image in these
          conservative regions.

          Its looking like the story of the season will be this contest between the two Mercedes drivers, i just hope their owners don’t play to big a part in that battle.

          1. That said i expected to Bottas to get the win here, this satisfies the Mercedes brand image in these
            conservative regions.

            Ajaxn so your saying their were team orders from the start?

        2. Nonsense, he did no such things, so stop perverting the truth

    3. Good for the wdc too.

      Good for Hamiltons WDC :)

  2. After getting a better start than Bot, he didnt capitalize on it and was too kind into the first and second corner.
    Bottas also got a bit lucky with backmarkers. Bottas is very strong in Austria, Russia so i am expecting many more race wins from him. Lewis has to step up and bring his A game to beat Bottas 2.0

    1. A few wet races and Hamilton is sorted. He’s also excellent at ramping up pressure in the second half and only failed to beat Rosberg due to mechanical failures. Bottas could win the title if he maintains this level of consistency, but I reckon he needs some luck (or HAM bad luck) and a DNF or two in his favour.

    2. the number of races Bottas is strong at is very small compared to the no. of tracks Lewis is unbeatable at. I’m not exactly a fan of Lewis, but I can’t deny that he’s incredibly hard to beat over a full season when the car is great and the reliability is there (which seems to be the case for this years Merc).

  3. He could have a go on the three first corners, he gave Bottas space on the first two and gave up before the third one.

    I really dont care, it is nice to see bottas getting what is his after so much bad luck last year, coupled with poor performances later in the year.

  4. Maybe Things will be different with Bottas this year.
    He knows Wolff promised Ocon a seat for next year and that probably means Bottas will be the victim.
    I’m sure he is aware of that and feels this may be his last chance to win a WDC.
    I don’t think he can beat HAM but then again I didn’t think ROS could either.
    He needs to keep putting pressure on HAM as he has been known to fracture under pressure.
    Hope he makes it interesting.

    1. Has Ocon been promised a race seat at Mercedes?

      Even if he has, Bottas is performing at a level that is better than anything Ocon has ever demonstrated, so why would they not offer him another contract?

      1. @nvherman True, Bottas has answered that one already I think. Ocon is going to have to look elsewhere. Sticking Ocon in the Mercedes garage during the first few races seems to have done the trick (for Bottas).

      2. Well, Wolff guaranteed him a seat next year.
        Where else could he go if not Merc?
        Surely not Williams as they are beyond incompetent.
        That leaves Force One – Perez is good enough to keep the seat and Stroll is the owners son. No other Merc customers.
        seats available.
        He will be at Merc if Wolff is a man of his word.

        1. pastaman (@)
          29th April 2019, 1:21

          You keep claiming that Wolff guaranteed him a seat. Where are you getting your information from? Unless there is a contract, there is no guarantee. Even with a contract there is still no guarantee :)

          1. He doesn’t. He is just delusional.

    2. I don’t think Hamilton is taking it easy on Bottas because he wants him to keep his seat. Ocon hasn’t proved himself to be much better than Perez. I think Hamilton would rather have a weaker teammate in Ocon than Bottas 2.0

    3. Fracture under pressure? I know you’re not talking about Ham? Surely!

      1. He hasn’t been under pressure since ROS, especially the year ROS won.
        Vettel should have been the one to pressure him but simply isn’t a good enough driver.
        I think VER and possibly LEC can do it if they get a car that can be competitive.

  5. If Hamilton was more aggressive, it would have put Bottas in the wall. It kind of felt like Bottas thought he had less to lose and dared Hamilton to take a Mercedes out of the race knowing he wouldn’t. If that was any other driver next to him, Bottas wouldn’t have stuck it out around the outside….

    1. Well said, can’t agree more.

    2. @petebaldwin – Came to the comments to say the same thing. Hamilton could have pushed harder but Bottas would have either hit the wall and likely collected Hamilton with him (and a number of cars behind) or Bottas would have had to completely back out of it.

      Honestly this is what teammates of Hamilton have to do, push back and not back down. Hamilton is too good and if anyone gives him extra space he will take it. And I think this is where the actions that led to collisions with Rosberg make some sense in hindsight. Spa 2014, Spain 2016, and Austria 2016. (I’m not taking sides on the first two as they are contentious and the last was ham-fisted by Rosberg.) But regardless of how you view the incidents, they were instances of Rosberg not backing down.

      My point is NOT that Bottas needs to hit Hamilton but that his only chance of staying in the WDC fight is to hold his ground when head to head with Hamilton. It worked out in Bottas’ favor here perhaps because he was on the clean side of the track? But the only reason he even had that chance was because he kept pushing. Had he backed off even a bit, he was done.

  6. Yes, he was soft. No, it was not a problem. He’s not at war and there’s no need to start one right now. I know BOT raised the game but still, when the chips are down, everyone (including himself and probably even Valtteri) expects HAM to be ahead: he is faster, he is more consistent. As long as he remains tucked into BOT’s points slipstream, there’s no need to worry too much.

    Well, at least, given Mercedes form, I don’t expect any of them getting low on chips at all but, what the heck!

    1. Agreed +1
      We will see but I do not think BOT can trouble Lewis over the course of 21 races. That said… it’s nice to see BOT to ally fulfilling his potential.

      1. Fully agree. I was very critical of BOT recently, and I find it really nice of him to reborn. But, for me, there is no way to believe he can beat HAM for the crown. If he does manage that, I’ll be dazzled.

        1. @niefer I can see that you’re dazzled already, as most of your posts today make zero sense. Bottas is the faster of the two Mercedes guys at the moment and that’s that.

          1. @huhhii Granted, BOT may be faster now, but HAM has been the faster overall in these years of pairing. If that makes no sense to you, that’s not my problem.

          2. @huhhii – Even if we were to accept your position that “Bottas is the faster of the two Mercedes guys at the moment…” you have watched F1 in recent years, yes? Hamilton does not tend to disappear in the second half of the season, nor does he tend to level off. If anything, he tends to get stronger.

            I’m glad Bottas is doing well so at least there is some competition for Hamilton, as Vettel is struggling (at best) and Leclerc has been held back by his team and a poor showing in Baku. However, Bottas will have to maintain this level and probably step it up even further if he wants to have a chance nearing the end of 2019. Four races in, being essentially tied with Hamilton is a good achievement. But Bottas needs to build a points cushion now, because it is dangerous to go into the latter half of the year level or behind Hamilton.

      2. I’m absolutely sure Bottas can trouble Hamilton, on this form. Not the same as beating him, though :)

  7. Lewis should realize by now that its between himself and Valterri this season.. Can’t let 2019 be a repeat of 2016. No use focusing on Ferrari as they are too busy fighting Verstappen for 3rd in the drivers championship.

  8. Yes, he indeed was a bit too friendly at T1 and T2 on the opening lap.

  9. Definitely this is not our strongest race in the season

    This has always been a bit of a difficult race for me.

    On a different note, OMG! These whinings are unbearable.
    Another record broken for the team, at no point the 1-2 was at serious risk given the pace both had, and he comes with this? Not only that, the dude pursues nicely the leader, delivering good sets of laps, the win definitely at the table, and just because the latter puts up a fight it was ‘difficult’? Oh, bite me!

    He arguably lost only because of a blue flagged car. It’s not like a piston failed when he was to grab the 1st place.

    Seriously, idk why people bash so much VET because of his RBR days when we have a dude who thinks losing a straight fought battle without substantial incident is something difficult. Stating craps like this tells me he never knew what difficulty means inside of a car.

    1. i don’t think you really get what he is saying here.
      He said he has more trouble getting to grips than his team mates at this track.
      He probably is going to say the same when they get to RB Ring. And it is true. He always trails his team mates there.

      But when the person wants to read something else, nothing can stop them, right?

      1. Fair enough but so what he had more trouble getting to grips? At the very end of the race challenging for the win, it has nothing to do with that. When it mattered he delivered, so he’s just playing safe for the crowd, like Toto does all the time.

        But when the person wants to read something else, nothing can stop them, right?

        You are definitely right here.

    2. He had the same gap coming onto the backstraight for a couple laps before they ran into backmarkers the last 2 laps. Bottas had Hamilton pretty well covered even without lapped traffic.

      1. That’s what I meant when I said BOT putted up a fight. Nevertheless, HAM still caught up on him. The decisive factor for BOT was that late blue flagged towing him. Ultimately, that was what prevented HAM from winning.

    3. You’re right. VET does not deserve the current criticism. Your comments about Lewis are exactly the same BS being thrown at VET though. As you were.

      1. Currently, HAM at racing craft is irreproachable, VET is. The roles are reversed regarding speech.

  10. Great. Let the hate flow through you. We need this.

    1. Wow! You showed me.

  11. Did Hamilton use the word “regret”? I think he would have regretted it if he would have run Bottas into a wall.

  12. Don’t see how he could have been less fair – if he had pushed any more than he did he’d have put Bottas in the wall and most likely got a penalty if he didn’t take both of them out. It was really cool to see them driving almost synchronised side by side for several corners actually.

  13. Hamilton treats Bottas liked he used to treat Button. Button, though, worked off track to undermine Hamilton within the team (as he basically admitted with his ‘advice’ to Rosberg). I can’t see Bottas doing that or Mercedes allowing it – again.

    1. worked off track to undermine Hamilton within the team

      This, though not visible with written proof but been very much palpable. The same suspicion to 2016 case.

      I can’t see Bottas doing

      Here is why Bottas deserves way more respect than Button or Rosberg, if he DOES stay within clean battle.

  14. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    28th April 2019, 18:14

    I agree with every comment saying if he was any more aggressive than he was it wouldn’t have been a 1-2 for Merc. It would have been 2 DNFs.

    1. If Hamilton isn’t heading the 1-2, the narrative becomes ‘regrettable’.

  15. To be honest I think it was great racing between the 2. Struggling to think of 2 other teammates where that doesn’t end with one of the cars in the wall. If Hamilton is racing someone other than Bottas in that situation, he would have forced them into a “yield the corner or go into the wall” situation.

    1. Ridiculous comment. When has Hamilton ever done a “yield or into a wall”-scenario. You’re making stuff up

  16. I thought at the time that he was much ‘nicer’ to Bottas than he would have been to anyone else on the grid. Don’t see Bottas as having the same aggression but he was also making sure he left space on the inside.

    Nice to see, if a little less exciting than a Perez-Ocon type of relationship.

  17. I do think Hamilton was being a little nice to Bottas at the race start. He definitely could be more aggressive and make the overtake if he wanted to.. But, he’d be risking contact with his teammate, and more importantly he’d be risking his relationship with Bottas.

    Bottas has done Hamilton plenty of favours. Just last year, he gave Lewis the race win in Russia, played the perfect wingman in Hungary and Monza, and didn’t challenge him in Germany.

    I’m pretty sure Bottas’ goodwill with Hamilton is why he didn’t get too aggressive with him this weekend. I don’t see Hamilton being that nice in the future though.. I think it’s even in his books now.

    1. @todfod Sounds about right to me.

  18. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    28th April 2019, 21:12

    Lewis is the best driver of his era and in contention for being the GOAT alongside other greats. Bottas has had a remarkable start to the season, but let’s be honest here. Lewis works best under pressure which increases the further the season progresses.

Comments are closed.