Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Bottas describes his season as “pretty bad” since the first race

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says his season has been “pretty bad” since he won the opening race, and he is growing concerned for his championship chances.

The Mercedes driver won the season-opening grand prix in Austria but has lost points to Lewis Hamilton at every round since then. He lies third in the championship, 43 points behind his team mate.

“Apart from the first race, it’s been pretty bad,” said Bottas following his third-place finish in the Spanish Grand Prix yesterday. “There’s not been a weekend that has gone smoothly and without issues or so on apart from the first one.

“So a pretty bad season so far. Obviously, that’s disappointing so it’s nice to have a break. Hopefully we still have many more races to go, maybe even up to 10 or something like this. I would hope so. It’s far from ideal.”

He qualified on the front row alongside Hamilton but lost two places at the start which compromised his victory chances.

Bottas admitted he made “a bad start” yesterday. “I think the initial get-away from the line was not quite good enough and also my reaction time could have been a bit better. So just not a perfect start when it was needed.

“On this track if the guys behind get a tow from you and if you don’t get a tow and if your start is not better, you pay the price. So that’s it.”

He said he was “very disappointed” following his fifth consecutive defeat to Hamilton. “It’s far from ideal.

“I have no clue, actually, what the points difference is, but it’s way too big. And I can see, again, the championship drifting away.

“So I will take a couple of days to look at everything and see what went wrong and again move on. But obviously at this point, very disappointing. But yes, I know I always bounce back.

“No doubt in Spa, as always, I’ll in full mental health, giving everything I have. But for now I want to be somewhere else than here.”

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41 comments on “Bottas describes his season as “pretty bad” since the first race”

  1. He should just relax.
    No need to overthink this.

    He needs to pull himself together, focus on Max (he is the closest target in the Championship), on starts – and see how it goes from there.

    1. Martijn Schenderling
      18th August 2020, 7:53

      Ambition is good but some selfreflection with it would be nice. He is not up there with the top of the field. Thats ok, teams have two cars..

    2. So, Bottas v4.0 ?

      1. Bottas II Turbo: Hyper Fighting alpha Plus ~ Championship Edition (Amstrad version)

      2. an app by lewis for lewis.

      3. Akin to Webber Mk. II.

  2. Bottas is quite poor tbh. It is such a waste of a good car that Mercedes on him. I am a F1 fan, I don’t care about team harmony, all I care about is hard racing and competition. I want to see the best battling against each other. We only had this once in the last ten years (2016).
    Sometimes F1 can be such a hard sport to love…

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2020, 20:11

      It isn’t “such a waste” if the team keep winning WDC and WCC which they ahve ever since he’s joined. And in his most recent year, he finished runner up to Hamilton.

      There may be more competitive drivers than bottas out there, but lets be honest, when Rosberg was there, there was also more crashes and sudden large numbers of points lost because of this. Spain 2016, Austria 2016, Spa 2014 and it doesn’t end there. In a way, the team is stronger as it is now than it was then. As a viewer, it may be more boring, but I disagree that Bottas is a waste of a seat. If he was, the team wouldn’t give him a contract every year. Bottas has had to be at least good enough for the team to give him a years contract on 5 occasions.

      2016 wasn’t any more battling against each other than the previous two regarding on track action. Hamilton just happened to suffer bad luck that season which to you probably made it more interesting. Had Hamilton had that same level of bad luck the following year and Bottas’s retirement in Spain hadn’t happened, then Bottas could have won the WDC like Rosberg did the year before.

      I think Bottas is about as good as Rosberg, btu in a totally different way. For the team, he’s better. He’s also a cleaner driver. but he does lack aggression and pace at times. But I also think Hamilton losing out to Rosberg has improved his strength and he will be giving Bottas a really hard time. He’s not as bad as Hamilton makes him look.

      1. w.m. bravenboer
        17th August 2020, 20:47

        Bottas is a very good driver, extremely fast on one-lap pace, capable of winning races, he is pretty consistent, reliable and a an all-round nice guy. But… nice guys don’t become World Champions. He lacks that extra that Lewis has, an aggressiveness, a ‘drive’, Lewis is the ultimate all-round driver, not only fast, but also capable to manage not only his car, but also his team. Mercedes is molded around him, Bottas is a perfect ‘nr 2’, fast, dependable, but not a threat.
        Rosberg had to reach incredible deep, mentally and physically to approach Lewis. The ‘mind-games’ Lewis plays are one of his strengths, Hamilton is a master in getting under your skin, this is not by any means negative, but he is ‘in control’. The only way Rosberg could beat him, was luck and an exhausting mind-set, that is why he quit.
        Bottas is not as mentally strong, he is too unsure, look at his interviews, he looks like a beaten man. The only driver that is capable of reaching Lewis’ level is a young Dutchman. But I doubt they will put him ever in that second Merc.

        1. Luck played a part for Rosberg As for many WC but it’s unfair to say it’s a main differentiator. Rosberg was fair and square ahead of Ham by mid season. He was able to keep the pressure all the season long and that’s what made the difference. Therefore he was there to exploit that faulty engine of Ham and manage the gap that had been created thanks to that. Bottas is never keeping pressure more than a few GP. Even with some luck, no chance he can exploit it to be W C

    2. 2014, 2017, 2018. It’s not been as bad as you make out.

      1. If we are looking at the last ten years then 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, about half the seasons we have seen a fight for the championship for at least part if not all the season.

  3. For race pace, Bottas wasn’t any better than a Massa 7-8 years past his best.

    For whatever reason everyone pumped him up as the next “Flying Finn” since he got into F1 but the results have never been there whether the Williams or Mercedes years.

    Had the opportunity to win at Williams but failed seize the moment like he does at Mercedes.

    Let’s not forget that Merc had opportunity to have Alonso when Rosberg left but they chose to placate Hamilton but giving him a sensational wingman. Probably the best #2 in F1 history.

    1. Why do posters keep suggestion drivers that have already been rejected by most of the top teams and why would Mercedes take on other teams failures?
      Shame they can’t get hold of Albon as the second best team obviously rate him higher than Vettel, Ricciardo, Alonso and the rest.

      1. RBR have a ruthless driver program where they either sink or swim.

        The program has produced Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen.

        The Merc program has produced Ocon and Wehrlein LOL.

        Alonso would have 7 championships in row at Mercedes with Rosberg and Bottas as teammates, not 6 in 7 years.

        1. Verstappen is not a product of the driver programme, just a load of cash and a promise of an RBR drive to get him onboard when Mercedes were after his talent…

          Imagine if that had played out differently!

        2. Alonso would not have won 7 WDC if his teammate was Hamilton in the Mercedes. Hamilton beat Alonso in his rookie year! Alonso being the reining double world champion. To he fair he might have shared a few with Hamilton 3-4 to Hamilton and that’s being very generous as the Mercedes team may have imploded with those two drivers.

          1. Alonso was also beaten by Trulli in 2004.

            Hamilton was clearly the favoured son at McLaren.

    2. What are you on about? Bottas destroyed Massa. Even when Smedly was always giving Massa the best strategy (even when Bottas was the driver ahead) which cost Bottas many good race results.

      1. In races they were fairly even. Massa was about 7-8 years past his best and had no business being in F1.

  4. Compared to his previous years and other drivers on the grid he’s not doing badly. Compared to Hamilton though yeah it’s ‘another’ poor year. You could argue he’s not had as much luck, maybe not quite the raw pace and things just haven’t gone his way but they have a habit of not going his way really and here were are with quite a number of races left to go and he’s already talking like it’s over – which is just as tragic for him as it is for us watching. He just doesn’t seem to have the aggression or willingness to rock the boat that he needs to actually take the title and I can’t help but wonder if he was ever going to he would have done by now.

    I feel for his mental state. He goes away, deconstructs himself, challenges himself, improves and comes back – and is still 2nd. Nothing he does seems to be quite enough. Not to say he’s bad; he’s very good, but he just seems to be missing that last crucial part.

    1. I agree, interesting that in his own words “… I’ll be in full mental health …” seems quite an admission for a top level sportsman, implying that prior to this he hasn’t been … I can’t imagine the pressure of being a teammate to someone who always seems to have just that little bit more …

  5. “On this track if the guys behind get a tow from you and if you don’t get a tow and if your start is not better, you pay the price. So that’s it.”

    He could have taken a tow by Hamilton but stayed in the middle of the track and was passed left and right. So he missed the opportunity completely.

    1. Verstappen was already alongside him, and Hamilton knew exactly what he was doing by not giving Bottas the tow.

  6. He looked pretty downbeat after the race on Sunday, first time I’ve seen him come across as negatively as that all year.

    Think Bottas has had a reasonable season, certainly better than the ‘#2s’ at Red Bull and Ferrari. He’s never going to be as quick over a race distance as Hamilton, but he’s up there with the best qualifiers and his best chance of winning races comes on Saturdays… if he’d taken the two poles he missed out on by a tenth or so, his season (and the championship table) might look very different.

  7. In my opinion, at Mercedes, Bottas has developed into a Top 5 driver. Currently only Ham, Max, Ric and Lec are better than him. He has been unlucky in the races otherwise he would have been close to Lewis in the championship.
    Some people say Bottas is a poor driver to downplay Hamilton’s achievements. Current version of Bottas is a far better driver than Vettel, Kimi, Perez..etc

    1. Like Stroll is now also a great top10 driver? Just because he is in 2nd best car scoring some points?

      Bottas is lucky to have the 2nd seat in THE most dominant car in F1 history for 4 seasons. And still having fewer race wins than Max Btw.
      Bottas is a tier below the tier2 drivers (sainz, Norris, Vettel)

  8. That is an accurate assesment.

    Fast as he might be when Lewis gets in to his GOAT mode, there is little Bottas can deliver to combat that.

    It is also not really big mistakes, just slight under performing and poor tyre nursing.

  9. Bottas is a very good driver – look at how he pushes Hamilton in qualifying. He is the kind of driver who will get 99.5% out of the car absolutely consistently. He will look at the data and – in predictable conditions – produce excellent results.

    Hamilton is an exceptional driver, who occasionally reaches beyond what anyone thinks is possible in the car (especially in the wet or when fighting for the lead). He has a tremendous feel for what needs to be done in any conditions, and seems to rely on data / simulators much less than many other drivers.

    He is also (very) occasionally not so good, which is why you need a team mate like Bottas or Rosberg. They are good enough to beat him when he isn’t 100%, which then spurs him on to get back to the maximum. Rosberg even managed to do that over a season in 2016!

    1. Rosberg used to push Hamilton in qualifying as well (beat Hamilton 11-8 in 2014).

      1. David

        Four of those qualifications involved mid and pit lane starts for Hamilton (and he still beat Rosberg even from there) due to reliability issues that were not his fault.

        Note that for every pole Rosberg had Lewis drove straight past him on track.

        But that would interfere with your absolutely constant obtuse comments on all things Hamilton would it not?

        Please troll elsewhere we get your hurting.

    2. He has only been unlucky with the puncture in silvertone. Otherwise he just had bad starts in hungary and spain which cost him. He is behind Max in the championship in a much worse car, while max had a DNF in austria. Not that great eh.

      1. Well, maybe Bottas is great. Which makes Max divine.

        Lewis fans can’t have it both ways: talking up the avg driver Bottas to make their hero look better , but then not acknowledging Max is better than Lewis as Max beat Bottas in a far inferior car.

  10. I think he just needs to focus more on getting the complete weekend package right. All I could think when he took the pole for the anniversary race and celebrated it quite energetically was that Hamilton would have the real joy overtaking him in the race. As it happens the tyres threw the race on its head anyway but he did still lose out to Hamilton.

    He needs to start thinking more about just getting the job done, celebrating little victories can be used as fuel for the fire by Hamilton. Cold efficiency on the other hand doesn’t give any encouragement to your rivals to beat you and leaves them with self doubt. He just seems naive on the mind games side of the sport.

  11. Good assessment.
    Unfortunately Bottas has really kept Hamiton at his peak and I assume will continue to do so whereas a lesser driver may well benefit from Lewis relaxing his focus as he did pre Bottas.
    As much as people keep saying that certain other drivers would beat Hamilton if they were given the seat, I’m more of the opinion that Hamilton would continue to be pretty much unbeatable in that car regardless of who is piloting the other.

    1. was meant to be a reply to @amg44

  12. He’s done this season, focus on next year

  13. Hamilton is just tripping into ‘championships’ with this average bloke by his side.

  14. BOT doesn’t seem to understand that VER is the only competition out there. On the start he need to focus on keeping VER behind but he saw the RPs coming and tried to hold everyone back. The RPs are fast but not faster than the top 3. HAM spent 10 laps or so trying to back VER into BOT but BOT just cruises around and eventually HAM cranked it up to gain a gap for the pit stops.

  15. Bottas is a pretty fast, consistent driver and a good team mate. However, he lacks that cutting edge and instinct that someone like Hamilton or Verstappen has. Even someone like Rosberg had more of this than Bottas does and he was willing to play a little rough when it was required.

    Bottas is great over one lap but he needs to have sharper elbows and fight a bit more in races, especially at the start. He is only ever going to be in with a chance of a WDC if Lewis suffers some quite serious bad luck or suddenly his level of performance begins to decline.

    I can quite see why he makes a perfect no. 2 for Mercedes though. If you have a top driver like Lewis all you really need is a pretty fast, consistent no.2 who is capable of bringing the car home is second or third most of the time.

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th August 2020, 14:18

    There’s no doubt that Bottas is trying to produce the best results that he can. After all, there are poles, wins, and championships on the line that he could fight for. It’s every driver’s dream but it’s also a nightmare for any driver in the same car as Lewis. Every driver would do their best to win the championship given a chance.

    Bottas is not the perfect driver but then again nobody ever was and he’s probably driving against the driver that’s been closest to perfection. It’s a fight that every driver will lose every season including Rosberg who secured a WDC but didn’t really beat Lewis that season. It was an impossible championship and you have to respect the fact that Nico somehow managed to win it.

    Unfortunately, the more he loses the more likely it is that he’ll end up losing. It’s very hard to overcome this type of defeat unless Lewis is riddled with tons of mechanical problems during a season and you try to take away all his chances to outscore you as Nico did using the car as the ultimate point brake.

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