Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Singapore, 2019

Bottas accepts team’s call to keep him behind Hamilton

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he accepted Mercedes’ instruction for him to slow down to ensure he didn’t jump ahead of his team mate in the race.

Mercedes chief strategists James Vowles told Bottas to reduce his pace by over three-and-a-half seconds following his pit stop so that Lewis Hamilton would not fall behind him when he pitted.

Bottas said he accepted the team’s internal rules for handling pit strategy.

“For sure we have certain rules,” said Bottas. “The car ahead always gets priority with the strategy. Then if you try to offset the car who was behind benefits [first] from it like I did.”

He admitted he could have kept up his pace after his pit stop and got ahead of his team mate.

“If I wanted to get ahead it would have been easy,” said Bottas, “but we have certain rules and it’s both ways so next time I’ll be in his situation it’s going to be the same for me so that’s fine.

“Obviously there was potential for better today I think but those are the rules.”

Hamilton and Bottas finished fourth and fifth. Bottas believes the team could have done better.

“It felt like I really had good pace today but obviously you need a big pace delta to overtake the cars ahead,” he said. “For sure we’ll analyse things but as a teams we could have done better today.”

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Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Bottas accepts team’s call to keep him behind Hamilton”

  1. It’s been a little while since we’ve heard ‘Valtteri, it’s James.’

  2. “but we have certain rules and it’s both ways so next time I’ll be in his situation it’s going to be the same for me so that’s fine.”

    Bottas may think so but I really doubt Hamilton would ever slow down so his team mate who is 1st on the championship kept ahead if he was the 2nd.

    This is why I don’t like Bottas, he ain’t slow but he always has all these “Wingman” moments, I would understand if he was a very young rookie with a long contract accepting this in exchange for a future N°1 driver role or a old man driving his last years just for fun but he’s supposed to be on his prime and just lets Hamilton step on him everytime.

    1. Don’t you think that the situation he means is basically the same as today but in reverse – ignoring the positions in the championship? He never implied it was anything to do with he championship position.

      Do you actually think it would have been good for Bottas to ignore his team orders?

      1. Do you actually think it would have been good for Bottas to ignore his team orders?

        Yes, he’s second on the championship and they ask him to slow down so the guy who is first in the championship stays ahead and gets even further away in the points, they are already first in the WCC it doesn’t matter who is 4th or 5th for the constructors.

        Did Lewis speed up in the last race of 2016? cause that was the team order, speed up we are in danger of losing 1st and 2nd, what did he answer? I’m leading the race so I’m quite content where I am, I’m losing the championship blabla, and you know he was right his only chance was for Rosberg to lose his 2nd place so he tried the most he could to do it screw the team orders.

        That’s what a championship contender would do unlike a clear 2nd driver.

    2. Remember when they gave Hamilton the opportunity to go after a podium in Hungary and go past Bottas? Also remember how Hamilton had to drop back a huge amount just t let Bottas back in front again when he wasn’t able to pass the Ferrari?

      Even if you didn’t, it did happen and Hamilton clearly showed that he does the same thing as Bottas did. Does that make either of them a “wingman”? No it doesn’t. It’s simply being a good team player.

      1. “Let Lewis go by, he’s on better tyres so he can pass the Ferrari, if he can’t he will give you the place back” is very different from “Slow down so Lewis keeps ahead of you when he pits”.

        In the first situation Lewis was Mercedes only challenger for the WDC and was faster with a good opportunity to pass the next car.

        In the second Bottas is the challenger to his team mate and Hamilton wasn’t gonna really challenge the next car in a track you can barely overtake, so no advantages at all for Mercedes to keep Hamilton ahead, there’s no reason to tell Bottas to slow down, Mercedes is already 1st on both championships just let them race.

        Some may say it’s only two points who cares, sure but then why keep Hamilton ahead if 2 points doesn’t matter?because they do matter, Hamilton himself has won a championship by less than 2 points.

        What they did to Bottas is telling him “Finish behind Hamilton no matter what”, like good old Rubens used to do with Schumacher.

        And you will never ever see Lewis accepting both of those orders if the other Mercedes was the challenger to him in the championship, ever.

        See Mercedes 2014-2016 for the last point.

        1. The reason that they slowed Bottas down was to play the long game with Lewis, without letting Albon past.

        2. How is that differebnt? Hamilton gave back the position.

          In this case it made sense that Mercedes rectify their strategic blunder and ask Bottas to keep Albon back a bit.

    3. I don’t know why Bottas said that. As if mercedes are ever going to give him equal treatment. I don’t know who is he fooling. He noted in Silverstone that he did not understand why was he pitted as early as he did. He has been a team player more times than most f1 drivers put together. I respect that he is earning his living but he has no ambition or self respect.

  3. Without Valtteri slowing down it was quite possible that Lewis would have dropped behind Albon as well, so the call was understandable. If Lewis had slotted between Bottas and Albon, then team order to swap positions was possible anyway.

  4. Bottas 2.0???… Barrichello!!!

  5. …and that’s why the Wingman is a disappointment. It’s preferred to cope with the team whenever is possible, but in the moment the win panned out of HAM’s reach, he should’ve thought of his own championship. Could’ve at least pulled the Saint Lewis of Hungary and hand the place at the end, or sort of.

    He just has not the sum. Plain waste of seat.

        1. @f1osaurus
          I am sure you’d like to see on track racing. Letting your teammate go by especially with such a huge lead in the WCC is a shame to watch.
          One has to seize the moment to win world championships. Agreed Bottas is not as fast as Lewis, but he looked like a lame duck just following orders.
          Disappointing to say the least. I understand the need for team orders in dire cases like the one at Haas, not at Mercedes where both drivers and known to be wise enough to know what they are doing.

        2. @niefer Are you?

          @webtel I’d say it’s worse that Ferrari maneuver Vettel in front of Leclerc when Leclerc clearly deserved that third win in a row. Disappointing to say the least that they took that away.

  6. Just keeping up a front. He’s not that naive to think that he will get priority when Mercedes and Hamilton have one hand on both trophies. Particularly when if they did they would know Hamilton would be all over Bottas for the rest of the race.

  7. Seems a reasonable response. If they hadn’t been able to do it, they’d have just pitted Hamilton a few laps earlier and nothing would have changed, so it’s not like Bottas lost out in any way…

  8. He’s becoming a bit too spineless for my liking, honestly. I wonder if he’s already regretting having extended his contract to stay at Mercedes for next year. He can only aim for the odd win as long as Hamilton is there…

  9. He should have said no. Disappointed in him.

    1. Yes, he should put himself before the team. That always works out well.

  10. I get the criticism, the Bottas 1.0 or whatever. But really, this is the bargain for anybody who wants that seat.

    Either beat Hamilton cleanly or play the team game. He didn’t have the measure of Hamilton all weekend. He could have ignored team orders for what, about two points? It’s not worth it.

    He got the seat again next year because of days like today. This is why they picked him, not Ocon. He knows that when he is slower he has to play the part of #2.

  11. Bottas not gifted Hamiltons place. Vettel gifted Leclercs. I wonder which will cause the loudest negative responses?

  12. ‘next time I’ll be in his situation it’s going to be the same for me so that’s fine’

    But it won’t though will it? Can’t imagine Mercedes ever telling Hamilton to slow down so Bottas can stay in front. Bottas seems to have lost his fighting spirit and accepted defeat.

  13. Valtteri, you say it goes both ways. But I doubt it:
    -First, I don’t think Merc would have ordered the other guy to slow down
    -Second, I’m pretty sure the other guy would not have complied

  14. I can just about accept that Bottas accepted dropping back. (Would Hamilton?) But why didn’t he try to get past Hamilton after? He’s supposed to be in a title race!! At least with Rosberg you remembered, always, that there was another contender for the championship. Nobody on the commentary even mentions the idea of Bottas challenging Hamilton during the race to regain some points, despite the fact he was sat a second or so behind for most of it.

    1. because Bottas was only quicker than hamilton when he had pitted and Hamilton hadn’t. After that, Bottas was pretty close only because Hamilton was also stuck behind the drivers ahead -which hamilton had a real hard time passing. And Bottas would have needed to be around 2 seconds per lap quicker than Hamilton or rely on a mistake to get by him anyway. Next to no chance of this.

      1. @thegianthogweed It’s not that I think he had a chance of passing, it’s the fact that nobody even expects him to try. Or has any interest in the idea.

  15. Bottas is an absolutely maddening waste of the best seat in Formula 1.

    It is a two-fold waste – he’s simply not good enough, he’s won 5 races in cars that Hamilton has won 28 races in, he’s yet to back Hamilton up in the championship by finishing second, and other than twice or 3 times a season, he’s never even close to him at the flag.

    Aside from that, he is an absolute doormat for the team. Does he really think Lewis would have dropped his pace by 3.6 seconds a lap to ensure he didn’t overtake him? Incredibly frustrating watching him squander the Mercedes car.

  16. After he passed Lewis on track at Monza this would had probably irks Toto a lot. So he pushed the slow down Valtteri button.

  17. Sorry, Valterri, but next time if Hamilton is in the same shoes, he won’t even be given that call, and if he did with the championship or a win on the line, I doubt that he would live with it.

    It wasn’t Bottas’ fault that Mercedes messed up Lewis’ strategy. Why should Bottas be forced to slow down so much and stay behind? He was even put under pressure by Albon for a lap because of this call.

    It bad Mercedes strategy leading to more bad strategy.

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