Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Bottas could have five wins without unlucky “freak events” – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff sympathises with Valtteri Bottas over his run of bad luck.

What they say

Bottas suffered two punctures during the Bahrain Grand Prix on his way to eighth place.

Valtteri has had bad luck in his season that almost comes close to freak events. Multiple punctures that shouldn’t have happened, red flags when he was easily in the lead. And if I didn’t know that he has an absolutely strong mental constitution, a driver could start to question why that was happening to only one guy.

But not Valtteri. He is so strong, so robust and resilient that it’s only going to make him stronger. But I feel sorry for him picking up all those problems in a single season when he could have won three or four or five races more, being a solid second at least. This is difficult.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The safety team who ran towards Romain Grosjean’s burning car deserved to be hailed as heroes, says John:

Not all heroes wear capes.

Today they were in fire proof overalls. The medical car staff were just amazing, totally selfless, running towards a fireball with the thought in their mind that they may be going in.
@Johnnik

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  • 42 comments on “Bottas could have five wins without unlucky “freak events” – Wolff”

    1. I still just can’t understand how Romain wriggled his way out of his seat, but I am relieved for his sake that he could!

      Bottas always needs things to be just so and has never actually gotten faster despite all the character building over the years. He doesn’t have any charisma and his racecraft is middling. He is no heir apparent for Mercedes.

      1. Romain’s escape is trully amazing when you think about all he was experiencing.
        The force of the impact would have left him slightly dazed, then the flames he wouldn’t have been able to breathe and then the heat would have been unbearable. It is sheer will to survive and the thought of loved ones, that got him to force his way out of that car however he could.

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        30th November 2020, 19:36

        @reg gotta push back a bit there. Bottas has consistently improved his qualy pace since joining in 2017. First half of the season he was damn close. Lewis seemed to find another gear yet again in the last few races. Imola was the last time Bottas had him. Like Rosberg he is struggling to match Lewis on Sunday, but I don’t rate him as a Rosberg equivalent. You are correct in that he is not a good fit for team leader post Lewis. That’s why I advocate for Russell to join in 2022. Give him at least one maybe two years alongside Lewis to prepare. Quali would be interesting over the season at the very least!

    2. Bottas could have five wins without unlucky freak events and I could date a supermodel if I were rich and famous. But that’s not the reality of the world we live in.

      1. Yep and Bottas could have four world championship and Paris put in a bootle. But that just « if »

      2. @g-funk So the Mercedes team principal is lying?

        1. Covering his mistake to have signed Bottas at the end of 2016.

          Humans have problems acknowledging their faults.

          1. Not a mistake at all! Firstly it was his pupil and secondly he wanted the perfect Massa. He got it. The medicore nr 2 that never ever really puts up a fight but is able to bring in the points (unlike Albon for instance), so the nr1 driver feels utmost comfortable cruising to het another WDC. You can say what you wan from Wolff, but hands down the best team boss ever.

            1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
              30th November 2020, 19:38

              Massa was not mediocre. Up until he got hit on the head he was a damn fast driver. Look back to 2008.

        2. @Balue Did I say he was lying? No. I said his comments don’t reflect reality. Lots of things could have happened if not for bad luck or circumstances. But they didn’t. Bottas may or may not have “freak” accidents, but the point is that he didn’t win those 5 races.

          Since he has been a Merc driver he has never finished closer than 58 points behind his teammate. And that was his first season. Since then he has finished 161 (2018) and 87 points (2019) behind Hamilton. This year he is 131 point behind at this point. His average from 2017-2019 is 102 points behind Hamilton. That’s not “freak” bad luck. He’s just not as good a driver over the course of a full season. Full stop. Toto can try to spin it any way he wants with could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve but time has shown that Bottas is a safe #2 driver who will occasionally push Hamilton but not consistently enough and not hard enough to be a real threat.

          1. @g-funk Oh I see. Like Hamilton losing 2016 can not be ascribed to bad luck. It just happened and is the reality. Refreshing to see a Hamilton fan with this attitude. I would say it’s a first.

            1. @balue Yes. Hamilton lost in 2016. That is the reality. Maybe he could have won. Maybe he should have won. Maybe he would have won. But he didn’t. Rosberg won. And saying Hamilton would have 8 championships is not reality. He has 7. Or maybe he would have 6 still since Massa could have won if Timo Glock pitted for wets in Brazil 2008. None of those scenarios matters because they didn’t happen.

      3. Haha, exactly. Wolff is such a … talker. Likeable fellow, but who does he think he is fooling?

        1. So by what TW has said, in 2016 LH did not have a strong mental constitution. He had far fewer issues than VB has had this year, yet he spent the whole season claiming ‘someone’ doesn’t want me to win, and ‘they want Nico to win.’ And I would agree. LH was unhinged in 2016. Some love to claim LH only lost because of one dnf. Imagine if he had had VB’s luck that year. TW would have probably at a minimum had to publish more letters than the one he did, defending the integrity of Mercedes’ staff after LH’s conspiracy talk.

          1. @Robbie – you dont half talk rubbish sometimes. Hamilton took 12 poles, to Rosberg’s 8 – despite the fact that Hamilton didn’t compete in 4 qualifying sessions because of other engine problems and their knock-on effects. In fact, of those 3 qualifying sessions he couldn’t contest, Nico was on pole for all 3, and won all 3.

            Hamilton also won 10 races to Rosberg’s 9 – again, despite having over 7 engine related issues that ensured he either started from the back, midfield, or behind Rosberg. Furthermore, in the races in which they have been able to directly compete, Hamilton came out on top 11 times. and Rosberg 6 times (about the same ratio as their previous two seasons).

            The point is, despite Hamilton’s bad starts, he still drove a far better season than Rosberg (who season was far from flawless either). This was confirmed by ALL the team principals, F1 websites, media outlets, and fan polls, who voted Hamilton as the best driver in 2016 season. Rosberg was voted a low as 4th by in some polls, and NONE put him as the top driver in a year in which he won the championship.

            So, we KNOW that the engine related issues that affected Lewis’s qualifying and handed 3 wins to Rosberg uncontested, along with being sent to the back multiple times, and also a DNF in Malaysia, all went much more towards his championship loss in 2016 than any bad start or poor race did. In fact, the only DNF Rosberg suffered that year was his crash with Lewis in Spain.

            Please list any issue that Bottas had this year that handed any race win to Lewis. Unhinged, my foot!

          2. @kbdavies None of what you have said alters the things LH said to the media throughout the season that implied the team wanted Nico to win, stirring up his following into believing their was a conspiracy against him, to the point that TW published a letter defending the integrity of the team. And btw, in spite of your one-sided recollection of the season, TW himself boiled it down to a difference of one dnf for LH.

    3. Cant agree more with CoTD.
      What everyone at the scene did was amazing.

    4. Look at that fence blade! It ripped the car in half and it sure will decapitated Romain head if there’s no halo. Yet it still put the cockpit stuck in it. Looks like trying to slip through that hot stainless blade cause Romain’s hand burned.

      There’s no place in F1 to use that kind of fence.

      1. Agree, don’t think that kind of fence should be used, especially in open-wheel races.

    5. Freak events are something exceptional. Bottas’ so called “bad luck” is something you can count on and something I myself predicted before the season even started. Although I don’t know if “predicting” is the right word for stating something that is most likely to happen anyway.

    6. Re COTD: It was a miracle Romain survived, and that he did so with such not-serious injuries. I was amazed at the near immediate arrival of the Safety Car and the speed with which people leapt from the car with fire extinguishers in hand. And on the other side of the barrier there was the almost instant arrival of a marshal with a fire extinguisher in his hand.
      It must have taken a huge amount of courage to run towards that huge fireball with what must have felt like a puny fire extinguisher.

    7. Just occurred to me.
      I’m so glad that the championship was decided in the previous race. The pomp and ceremony following Hamilton’s win in Turkey would have been seriously out of place following everything that happened yesterday.

    8. Seriously….. Mercedes = a 7-time world champion at Junk Talk! A Ferrari beater, of course – worth underlining! A trendsetter, taking things up a notch!

      This is just another of those races from this season that underlined, again, that BOT is just a tier2 driver. And this is just for those who said different! Not on ROS level. Of course, worth mentioning that he’s of “no interest” for Mercedes when behind HAM, unless usable as a roadblock.

      1. He is the perfect puppet yes. And he cant complain. Without Merc his victory tally would be zero

    9. This may be unpopular but I don’t care, because it needs to be said.
      Not “everyone” at the scene was a hero. The heroes are van Dee Merwe, Roberts and Grosjean. The trackside marshals were completely ineffective and it appeared as though they had not even been trained on how to handle a fire extinguisher. The first marshal on the scene, before the safety car arrived, was spraying his extinguisher from 50 meters, high up into the air, not at the flame base, completely useless and ineffective. He appeared hesitant to move in probably due to the heat. This ineffectiveness may not be his fault as the marshals may lack sufficient training and protective gear. Had Romain been injured only to the point of having difficulty getting out of the car he would be dead. There was no ability to fight this fire on scene, sufficient to allow the medics and marshals in to help Romain out.
      This needs to be investigated and improved fire fighting capabilities implemented.

      And for the record I race cars in UK so not just an armchair observer.

      1. You are right and I think F1 should learn from this. Had Romain been unconscious, he would have died. Not to say with improved matters you could have saved him, but at least use this to make yet another step fwd in safety. So Halo is a good improvement to the now incredibly safe car. Track/Masi wise some learnings apply, which is a good thing since we can then improve overall safety, Firstly it seems some training handling a fire extinguisher is appropriatie. Then those extinguishers themselves: seems to not hold enough content for this type of fire. Probably good in 95% of the cases, but lets from now on plan on a Grosjean kind of situation. Then the helmets of the people in the safetycar driver and the medical car: this should become a full helmet. Now the medical staff were forced to keep some distance from the flames which didnt help. If the driver would have been unconscious the staff wouldnt be able to reach him and pull him out. Then the barrier itself. Indy uses concrete. Seems the harder material, but bouncing off is probably better than piercing through. Good learnings. Lets apply them and make it even safer to race.

        1. Yes. The difficulty is that an accident where the car breaks up sufficient to rupture the fuel cell has become so rare; last time I recall was Imola and Berger’s Ferrari, some thirty years ago. At a minimum the Medical Car could carry much more effective fire fighting gear on the first chase lap. And perhaps every marshal post should have one marshal geared up to fight a significant fire.

    10. Maybe.
      As for the COTD: 100%.

    11. I know there were a lot of near misses before the halo came in, but it’s been scary the number of times we’ve watched the halo appear to save the day since it was introduced

      As for Grosjean, I think he should seriously consider waking away now. He’s already gone next season, an incident like this has got to shake you to your core, he has a family, and ultimately it’s not the first piece of sloppy driving that’s incurred a major accident

      Take a bow and count your blessings Romain

    12. Today showed once again how many F1 drivers actually do not deserve a seat or do not belong in F1. I guess given what it takes to get to F1 in terms of privileged background and money backing you up it is to be expected that we as audience dont get to see the best drivers, but the most privileged persons. Thats a pity. I’d rather see 20 of Lewis, Max, Charles riding around and not those others that keep messing up, getting into accidents, not delivering again. FIA needs to be replaced with a new governing body that actually is able to set up a proper sports competition that stimulates and enables talent from a young age on to develop into the level required for F1. Not these rise to the occasion drivers we are presented with. Over 10 current drivers should have never gotten to this level and frankly they are wasting my time.

    13. Glad that he is okay, but am I the only one who sees that the accident was caused by exactly the same ‘first-lap nutcase’ maneuver that Grosjean made in Spa 2012? A quick turn to the right without any spatial awareness and not considering that there may be cars behind (in the blind spot).

    14. I feel Mercedes tries to make him look better than he was this season. There were some unlucky events, some headbutting with bees but I can’t recall any race where he lost the win just down to pure unlucky incident. I remember him losing the race after getting passed and then losing 30 seconds on his teammate by the end of the race – and not just once this year. I would seriously consider retirement if I was Bottas – he’ll always be the number 2 in Mercedes and he’s had more than enough time now to process that he doesn’t possess any ability to challenge his more talented teammate. I know it’s harsh, but he should know when’s the time to leave with his head up.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur, indeed, I do think you are being a bit harsh, though I also do not know which other three wins Toto had in mind that Bottas lost due to bad luck. Imola springs to mind, where he would have had better pace if he had not run over a Ferrari part. In Eiffel he had already lost the lead by himself before his engine failure, and in and Bahrain he was already way off the lead when the punctures occurred. Am I missing anything?

      2. @pironitheprovocateur

        I can’t recall any race where he lost the win just down to pure unlucky incident

        Imola is definitely one

        1. Bottas lost to Hamilton in Imola because of his inferior tyre management. Lets not kid ourselves that it had to do with any debris under his car. Its not like the first time it has happened.

          1. @kbdavies So your logic is actually that because Bottas has shown poor tyre management in other races, one must disregard as fake any talk from the team that a stuck large piece of debris caused significant loss of downforce and lap time.

            Are you a Hamilton fan by any chance?

    15. Once Ham is ahead, Bottas and his race are a 2nd thought for Mercedes. Bottas himself has been very poor too this season. Hungary, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Imola he was really poor and needed in Imola and Turkey the excuses he got and used them to the fullest to talk away his poor performance. Spain, Hungary he tried to claim his tires were the problem and Italy the usual adage that Mercedes is bad in traffic but nobody told Hamilton this when he was coming through the traffic.

      I think he is lucky in Bahrain he had these problems because had he maintained his 2nd place off the line, and did not have these problems, he would have been trying excuse why he got beat by Max, and had he maintained his 4th off the line, he would have been trying to excuse why Perez beat him in older machinery. Perhaps even Albon might have troubled him.

      His qualifying is good but that’s about it. His race pace and tire management are among the weakest of the drivers on the grid.

    16. +1 for the COTD.

      and to all those pointing out how rubbish the marshals were in their response perhaps you try dealing with a totally unexpected event of this magnitude and see how fantastic you are then?

      1. @nullapax What do you know what we have and haven’t done?

        If I volunteer to be a marshall at a motor race, like everyone else I am fully prepared there might be a horrific scene, and would have pracitised pulling the pin out of the extinguisher in my head many many times. It would be the most basic of the basics. I might even have checked a Youtube video or two how to best put out a fire with it. You know the ABCs.

    17. Sadly, I still think that Bottas would’ve won only 5 races if he was the only driver in Mercedes.

    18. Can someone please explain to me why Valteri Bottas was repositioned to 4th at the restart?! It really doesn’t make sense to me. Please tag me so I can see your reply.

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