Bottas says he could have let Hamilton past sooner: “I’m here to race, not let people by”

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas admitted he could have reacted more quickly to Mercedes’ instructions for him to let team mate Lewis Hamilton past in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was on fresh tyres than his team mate and chasing race leader Max Verstappen when he closed on Bottas.

The team advised Bottas several times Hamilton was closing and told him not to cost his team mate any time. Bottas did not defend his position when Hamilton passed him into turn seven on lap 53, but Hamilton lost around 1.3 seconds on that lap compared to the laps before and immediately after the move.

Despite temporarily slowing his team mate’s pursuit of victory, Bottas says he was more concerned with not compromising his own race.

“I definitely could have let him by earlier, but I was doing my own race as well,” Bottas told Sky. “It’s always calculating things.”

Bottas had passed Charles Leclerc earlier in the race and was pushing to build up a lead over his rival so he could try to score the bonus point ofr fastest lap.

“I was trying to get Charles off my pit window so I could stop again and try and go for the extra point. So the main thing in my mind was my own race.”

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Bottas says he was only instructed not to cost Hamilton too much time while he made his way by the second Mercedes.

“They told me not to hold him up too much,” says Bottas. “But like I said, I was also doing my race. And I’m not here to let people by, I’m here to race. So that’s how it goes.”

Hamilton eventually caught and passed Verstappen on his way to victory.

Bottas secured the final position on the podium, 10 seconds behind Verstappen at the chequered flag. He admits that being passed by Leclerc around the outside of turn three on the opening lap frustrated any chance he had of challenging the leading two ahead.

“Definitely the main thing for me in the race was losing place to Charles on lap one. Going into turn three, Lewis lifted quite a bit, so I had to also lift and to be honest, I didn’t see Charles outside. So when I saw him, it was too late.

“That really compromised the first stint of the race. It’s a shame because otherwise I felt the pace was pretty strong.

“Lewis showed, obviously, that he could win the race and I don’t think our pace was that dissimilar. So it’s a bit of a shame. But here the track position is so, so important. It’s so, so tricky to follow and pass.

“So I knew when I was P4 that it’s going to be tricky. But at least we made it back to the podium and outscored Red Bull.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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81 comments on “Bottas says he could have let Hamilton past sooner: “I’m here to race, not let people by””

  1. He’d have lost less time letting him by on the back straight rather than fighting him up to turn 10.

    1. Everyone should just rilax. To those who blamed VB for causing LH 1.5 second, well he is right when he said ” im here to race and not to let people by”.
      Let just say you guys walking in VB shoe, what and how would you think you feel and do? You wanna race try to win WDC but instead become the team doll. Even your car slower but at least you try hard to defence off until u cant. Thats the fighting spirit. But you not in VB shoe so u wouldnt understand how he feel. Not fair for him. Merc team simply act unfair to him.

      Reply moderated
      1. VB is an employee of the team. He does as they say. He would have lost less time himself and helped his team by letting LH past as quickly and easily as possible.
        He was trying to make a point.
        He made one, just not the one he wanted to.

        1. I agree, that’s my thinking too. Unfortunately Valtteri’s decision to hinder Lewis will just make it easier for Toto to think he’d prefer George as Lewis’s team mate and not Valtteri. I have no idea whether George would have been just as feisty as Valtteri, but I don’t see why he would have tried to hold up someone he would regard as his tutor.
          Valtteri’s other job was to steal the Fastest Lap point from Max and failed on that count too.

        2. Lewis, this is Paddy ….

          Reply moderated
      2. Of course racers want to race and not just let teammates by. However, he was given two instructions inc one from Toto, and it was OBVIOUS Lewis was on a different strategy and different league.

        He’s on a knife-edge for keeping his seat for next year. He has a LOT more to worry about than wanting to race (and not having much skill to do so) an imaginary race with his teammate.

        1. Merc team is like, be my doll or lose seat? LOL!

          Reply moderated
  2. Not cool really. What’s the point of uselessly hurting your team mate? It’s not like he was going to remain ahead of Hamilton.

    Team members from other teams who had drivers made the same early stop were a lot more cooperative.

    1. Pointless to make a point when you can’t get more points.
      He should start being disobedient when it would actually benefit him. Hamilton was going to pass him anyway so the only thing he did was cost his teammate around 1.5 seconds.

  3. Good for you Valtteri

    Seemed to be a little bit more like the driver they signed in 2017, at this race

    1. ian dearing
      9th May 2021, 17:58

      What limping home in third place, and quite prepared to put a win for the team in jeopardy? He just looked pathetic blocking Hamilton, and sounded petulant after the race.
      And he thinks this kind of behaviour is going to get the other teams reaching for their cheque book at the end of the season?

      1. I agree, it’s not a good look considering Bottas had nothing to gain. Fair enough if they were fighting for the championship, but they aren’t. It seems Bottas has just realised now that he is a number 2 driver and it’s trying to get rid of that label. The only was he can is by outracing Hamilton, which will only happen once in a blue moon at this point.

    2. Hogarth Kramer
      9th May 2021, 22:55

      Bottas is an employee. He does not own the car or the team. His personal interests do not matter. He’s going to put himself out of the best drive he will ever have, and deserve it.

      Reply moderated
    3. If you’re going to ignore team orders, you do so because you know better and know the team is making a huge mistake. Back that up by proving to ignore orders were the right thing to do and you’ll get away with it.

      What Bottas was doing to utterly pointless and pathetic. He wasn’t going to improve his race one iota and only potentially ruin the teams’ race.

      All Bottas did was help to seal his fate for 2021

  4. It was generally a bad sign. It was never going to achieve anything apart from p ssing the team off. And if it had cost the win, can you imagine…

    REPLY

    1. A few more pointless moves like that and it is going to make Russell a 2022 Mercedes driver am ready decision to make. Better for us anyway: inter-team fight and a better driver against Lewis in the same cart next year. Win-win. Thanks Valteri!

      1. … More like : A few more pointless moves like that and it’s going to make Russell a 2021 Mercedes driver.

  5. “Our pace was not that dissimilar?” What?

    Clearly the team thought he had the car to catch Verstappen and it wasn’t even close.

    1. It was especially shocking that after lap 54, when Bottas got his new soft tyres, he was still slower over the next 6 laps than Ham on old Mediums. This poor pace has allowed Max to pit and steal fastest lap point.

      1. Kevin Smith
        9th May 2021, 23:19

        Exactly. His one job was to take fastest lap, but typical VB. He will always be a No. 2 driver.

        Reply moderated
  6. Now it’s clear, he’s toasted and he knows it.

    Perez was required to let Verstappen by earlier and did that quickly enough. Bottas stalled Hamilton for a whole lap in the middle of a charge for no reason at all.

    1. Russel would have let Hamilton by much quicker…

    2. There is a classic Monty Python quote that fits this perfectly.
      “The end is nigh …”

  7. That is the confirmation he’s enjoying his last season with Mercedes. Next year he’s out.

    1. That sounds about right. This should add grist to the rumour mill.

    2. @Boudi Too early for definitive assumptions.

      1. ian dearing
        9th May 2021, 21:59

        Maybe Bottas confirmed it? ‘I was racing for myself.’

    3. This is clearly Bottas’ last season, but even his statement of dissatisfaction was clumsy. Stopping him right after was surely the team giving a message back, but it cost them the fastest lap point to Hamilton

  8. Lewis won anyway, so I’m sure the team will forgive him for not letting by sooner.

    1. ian dearing
      9th May 2021, 18:00

      Forgive, but won’t forget.

  9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    9th May 2021, 18:23

    I think I’d understand him being a little rebellious if he was fighting for the win himself rather than bickering over P4. I mean it’s nice to see him actually show some backbone but his choice of time to do it is a little perplexing.

    1. That’s my feeling too @rocketpanda; his ‘Otherwise, the pace wasn’t too bad and it’s good that I made it to the podium’ (which was what F1 quoted from his interview on twitter etc), is sort of reflection of that; I mean, not too bad is not great either when you have been in a front running, fighting for wins and WDC team for years.

      Why not do it somewhere where and when it matters, unless you think nothing you (can) do really matters more than haggling your teammate, ie. that’s the best you are able to do?

      1. I mean, just saw people reposting Verstappen’s great start+turn one; Crofty says there ‘Leclerc also got a better start than Bottas’, but we saw in a later repeat that Bottas was away really well, but then let himself be stuck and caught behind Hamilton; if right there in that turn, he’d have dived right and past his teammate, that would have mattered, and made for a great move easily forgiven for being start and just what happens.

        Still think Hamilton would likely have been ahead of him at the end (maybe Verstappen with the win, so not better for the team?), but when we are talking what is in it for Bottas, he’d been in that race, rather than a useful strategy block to Verstappen to take into account, and a ‘do not hold up Lewis he is on another strategy’ bum who’s happy he in the end got onto the podium and not Leclerc.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th May 2021, 18:35

      @rocketpanda

      I sometimes get a bit mixed up about what people want from Bottas. Forums and this page is always flooded with comments saying Bottas is too gentle or doesn’t try hard enough. Many even respect hamilton at times when he ignores team orders. Remember Hamilton deliberately hindering Rosberg in the final race in 2016? That wasn’t helpful for team points either. Bottas losing Hamilton just under a second didn’t cost that much anyway. Even without bottas interfering, a car ahead often will naturally lost the driver behind a bit of time anyway. If people wanted to see more fight from bottas – well you got what you wanted. But now many don’t want it and are against him again.

      I remember many of the other occasions he has followed team orders, several actually said he shouldn’t have listened and just done his own thing. It is hard to work out what people expect of him. I’m not sure why the first time he has ever been slightly awkward towards the team suddenly means he is 100% out of a drive either mid season or at the end any more than he was before this race began.

      1. One way to not get confused is to keep in mind that ‘people’ is made up of individuals @thegianthogweed, and sometimes a group of them thinks one thing, and another section of the audience has a different idea.

        I do think, as @rocketpanda, that it’s good when Bottas is a bit punchy. But it is just a bit sad how it is at a moment it doesn’t really do much and couldn’t be, for example, when he made a mistake on cold tyres last race that let Verstappen easily past, or as I describe above, when Hamilton had to be cautions today in turn one as Verstappen took his position, where there might have been room for Bottas to go right and past him.

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          9th May 2021, 19:25

          I got to clarify I want to see Bottas be more rebellious. I want him to challenge and be difficult. My issue here is the timing – holding Hamilton up here or fighting him seemed a tad irrelevant. I want him to do it when it really matters. I want him to run Hamilton wide, to drive the widest Mercedes on the planet instead of safely following him home.

      2. @thegianthogweed Come on man. There was no point whatsoever for Bottas to hold Hamilton up in this case.

        There are times to show backbone and there are times to show you’re a team player. This one clearly was the latter. He actually lost even more time with the way he was blocking Hamilton than he would have if he simply let him go.

        Norris let Ricciardo by with less of an issue in the same situation a few laps earlier.

  10. Broccoliface
    9th May 2021, 18:27

    Valtteri’s finally snapped after 5 years of being a whipping boy (his own fault), reading how naff he is everytime he logs on, and being shown up by his successor.

  11. “I’m here to race!”

    Lol, then race. Look at the car you have. And the team you have.

    1. While I’m not saying bottas is exactly performing well (and tbh was surprised by his insubordination here, seemed a reasonable team order), perez is doing worse currently, and beating bottas is not a hard task with a similar car.

      It’s constantly 2 mercedes vs 1 red bull!

      1. @esploratore

        I’d have to agree. Bottas isn’t in the same league as Max and Lewis and is generally just taking that easy P3 place… But that’s still a heck of a lot better than Perez who isn’t even challenging for the podium. I know Perez is still adjusting to a new team and car.. And that he will improve as the season goes on. Still, I think Perez at best will be another Bottas.

        Anyone who thought Perez would challenge Max was just kidding themselves. An odd race win under unpredictable circumstances, and a few podium finishes is the best we’ll get out of Sergio.

        The WCC battle often gets overlooked. I think Mercedes will end up taking it just because Bottas at least finishes consistently behind Lewis and Max and rarely lets any midfield drivers finish ahead of him.

        1. @todfod Not only that, If Perez was where he ‘Should be’ (4th at least) Hamilton wouldn’t have been in the position to make tha extra stop which won him the race.

    2. @robbie , summarised perfectly.

  12. wonder why everyone disses bottas but totally overlooking perez whos doing way worse

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th May 2021, 18:46

      @f1fan-2000

      That is something I also have noticed. Bottas was terrible in imola, but likely will have finished 6th or 7th if it wasn’t for getting knocked out as Hamilton likely will have finished behind him. But Perez even with so much chaos and retirements ahead of him finished outside the points.

      He messed up in qualifying in the first race, but actually looked reasonable on race day, but the damage was done and although he made a good recovery, the failure at the start didn’t actually change much – if anything.

      His finishing positions have been 5th, 11th, 4th and 5th. So only really in an acceptable position for the cars ability on one occasion. Bottas’s start with a new team in 2017 was far better than this.

      Bottas was terrible in imola, but was 3rd in the other 3 races and 2 of them he wasn’t actually far of verstappen at all pace wise. The first race he actually looked as good pace wise as both of the leaders.

      Today Bottas looked slow, but Verstappen and Hamilton are known to be on another level. Bottas said he felt relatively comfortable with the car, so I think it is more Hamilton simply being excellent and Bottas having an average day at best. And he obviously cost himself time behind leclerc.

    2. because Perez didn’t got in the way for nothing. He moved over when told to.

      1. @f1fan-2000 Because VB is in his 5th season of having the dominant car. SP has done 4 races in a car and team new to him, and a car that is not proving to be dominant, nor even equal to the Mercedes dynasty car.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          9th May 2021, 19:56

          I think you are misusing the word dominant. It hasn’t really been consistently dominant since 2016. It could be argues that Ferrari was close to being matched or even better in 2017/2018 and Vettel just wasn’t as good as hamilton. There have been a few races each year where Mercedes was by far the best, but certainly not dominant over the entire season in the past 4 years. 2020 was closer to dominance, but red bull was very fast, but let down by reliability.

          1. @thegianthogweed I disagree. It takes a full season and you only need look at the margins LH has won by as well as those that Mercedes has won by in the WCC in all years since 2013. The point being for this discussion VB has had the best car since he joined Mercedes in 2017.

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            10th May 2021, 11:00

            @robbie

            Long post, but I can’t see how looking at the points doesn’t show that Mercedes were dominant like your first post says when Bottas joined.

            There is an obvious difference between how close the rest of the field was when Bottas joined and that involved me doing this: “you only need to look at the margins LH has won by”….. That sentence in your own comment indicates exactly what I’m talking about that you disagree with. The pace of the nearest rivals were far closer to the extent of no longer being the dominant car, and that is obvious. You can say it is the best car if you want, but I’m not convinced it was in 2017 or 2018

            Just look at the difference between the lead Mercedes driver and the next non Mercedes driver in the WDC standings that i listed below. That is a huge difference between 2014 – 2015 and then the next 2 seasons. 2015 may seem close to 2018, but it should be factored in that it can be argued that Vettel was the best driver out of everyone that year. I can add that Mercedes was closer to dominating the 2019 season in terms of car performance. However, in 2020 Verstappen and Red Bull were clearly competitive, and his 5 retirements vs none for Hamilton will have cost him being closer among the margins such as 2018.

            2014: 146
            2015: 103
            2016: 129

            2017: 46
            2018: 88
            2019: 135
            2020: 133

            What I consider the true Mercedes dominance is (2014 – 2016), but take a look at some statistics from 2017.
            There were 8 non Mercedes wins. There were 8 non mercedes wins in 2014 – 2016 put together! And at least 2 were due to Mercedes team mates messing up the race.

            Then 2018.
            There were 10 non Mercedes wins this year.

            So, If Bottas has been in this dominant car, Hamilton also has and 18 lost wins is a lot over 2 seasons if the car is as strong as you are implying.

            Even including all the full seasons Bottas has been here, Mercedes got 51 out of 79 wins which I wouldn’t say is dominant as other teams have had over a 3rd of them. Mercedes got also 51 wins in 2014 – 2016, but this was 1 less season and 59 races in total.

          3. @thegianthogweed I’m aware of the stats and they only reveal that in all of VB’s seasons at Mercedes including very possibly this one he has had the WCC car, and could have been more of a factor in making Ferrari less of a factor in 2017 and 2018. I’ll give him some leeway for some of 2017 as I do all drivers who are new to a team, even when not new to F1.

            It is 2017 and 2018 that has me keeping my enthusiasm for a much more competitive Max/RBR in check, as in the second halves of those seasons LH/Mercedes utterly dominated the wins column as Mercedes sorted their ‘diva’ cars. And after witnessing Nico/LH for the previous three seasons continually lock out the front row, I think it is valid to plug into your equation the possibility that the continuity of NR there, as he had been contracted through 2018, or a stronger VB, would have shut out SV and DR and Max further, and we would have seen a similar gulf in the WCC numbers as 2014-2016.

            There are nuances to Mercedes less dominance in the seasons you cite, and it was still dominance nonetheless. VB in his now 5th season is still squandering the benchmark car. I cannot for the life of me fathom why he wouldn’t be replaced by GR next year, but if for some reason they hang on to VB he is certainly not going to be their go-to driver once LH retires.

          4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            10th May 2021, 22:11

            @robbie

            There is another reason why it isn’t out of the question that Bottas remains though. Even if he hasn’t always been the runner up to Hamilton, If Hamilton is the teams main driver, having a team mate like Bottas has allowed him to ALWAYS get WDC which mercedes will be happy with. And Bottas has done more than enough with Hamilton involved to help get WDC too. Teams don’t go for what is an exciting line up, so it is actually entirely possible they could give yet another 1 year contract for Bottas even if it seems unlikely. It is mostly just fans just wanting to view a team that has 2 close pairs of drivers. If one is simply excellent and the other is a solid number 2 (which Bottas most certainly is), for the team, there may not be enough of a reason going for a new driver.

            I still think it is more likely than not that Russell will get the drive, but not as likely as most think.

          5. @thegianthogweed Fair comment. It is interesting that most seem to be assuming that GR will be more of a thorn in LH’s side, but I think of it in terms of LH mentoring GR while LH is still in F1, GR being placed there for the very beginning of the new chapter, and then being the heir apparent when VB certainly is not that.

        2. @robbie Your point is right but I think Mercedes is building the car for Hamilton as much as RB is building their around Verstappen. We don’t know how hard is it for Bottas to race which is only build for Hamilton. But to be honest Red Bull is 100% Max’ team and it feels like Mercedes isn’t that one-sided with that.

          1. @qeki For one thing there are a lot of LH fans around here who would disagree with you and insist LH does not have that advantage, that being a car built for him. What has VB said on this that would indicate he has some car disadvantage to LH? Nothing that I’m aware. And what has Perez said about his car supposedly being ‘100%’ Max’s? So far it would seem to me Perez is doing better now than he ever has in any other car, especially considering only 4 races in an unfamiliar car on a team he is still acclimatizing to and they to him.

            Sounds to me like you’re just trying to make excuses for VB. And as for Perez there is no comparison since he’s only had 4 races so far.

          2. @qeki The issue with Red Bull is not that the car is built to suit Max, just they’ve built cars with poor operating windows and last year was prone to snap oversteer making it hard for Albon to build trust in. The relatively poor performance of the second driver seems more about their lack of ability to drive around issues. Hamilton too has a proven track record of being able to drive around problems and that’s likely why he’s getting more out of the Mercedes at present than Bottas. It’s in Mercedes best interests to help Bottas perform so he can take points off Verstappen.

            I personally think 4 races is more then enough time for Perez given his experience. Its pretty clear he’s not close to Verstappen’s level but most knew that anyway. Still expect him to have 1 outstanding race this year though.

          3. Oh for the love of god when with this ‘they build a car for {insert driver name here}’ stop!

            All of the teams build the fastest car they can. not ‘for’ any one driver. The car is then developed during the season based on data and driver feedback. This development may lean towards one driver or another depending on feedback received and possibly their relative chamionship position to help the leading driver. But no teams builds a new car to suit one driver or another.

            It is just a nonsense.

          4. @asanator Yeah well said. I do think there is one driver that did have a designer car and that was Schumacher at Ferrari, for his teammates were contracted to not compete, and that would have given them the go ahead to make the car for MS. Then he had designer tires for his designer car.

            But aside from that you are right and it was interesting when…I just can’t remember if it was Max, or a commentator like Di Resta, or someone last year, said that a car changes all the time from one race to the next, or even one session to the next, or even within a session or a race stint, as it how it’s tires are behaviour, wind, etc etc, in terms of if it is oversteery or understeery, or what have you. As you said they may lean a car towards a drivers preferences sometimes, but that can change in a heartbeat anyway, and it still comes down to how well a driver can adapt to the car and the conditions lap after lap.

            Come to think of it, it might have been within a video that I saw that someone referenced that was about Max’s ability to adapt so quickly, even within a lap, to the changes he is feeling.

          5. I’m sorry @asanator and @robbie, I think you have a very oversimplistic thinking of the engineering behind an f1 car. The designer and his lead engineers know that the route to the fastest f1 car is like climbing a mountain. The fastest a car can possibly ever go in that years formula is the peak. There are many routes up the mountain, some long and shallow, some short and sharp. Some meander up and down in altitude with many false peaks. Some have cliffs that need scaling. No team in history has ever got close to that peak, but all their paths lead through higher and higher altitudes.

            What I’m trying to say is, the statement “they are just trying to build the fastest car they can” is both true and useless in this context. Because when Mercedes chose how to tackle the mountain, they chose a route. But they decided in conjunction with Schumacher and Rosberg. Now who do you think they listened to more? Obviously Schumacher, of the pair disagreed on high rake vs low rake, all else being equal, it’s obvious they listened to their star. Then came Hamilton and we know the car began to change in a new direction – who were they listening to more, who knows. What I do know is that now, for the last 5 years, they’ve taken the way Lewis prefers over Valteri. Just like I know Stroll Sr insists his son is listened too more, just like I know 5 year contract LeClerc is listened too more, just like I know Max is listened too more. There’s a clear pattern in f1 – every race, each car is unique – not just from the 19 other cars on the grid, but from the same car in the 19 or so other races that year. Another pattern is that known good drivers underperform in new teams. The next pattern of the puzzle is that clear 2nd drivers underperform even when established in teams. Finally we see the pattern that drivers in cars that don’t have their preferred characteristics underperform. So while there is no proof, there is clear patterns that signify that the teams do tend to build a car to the preferences of their clear number 1 driver if they have one. And honestly, it’s also the common sense approach. Is Max and Cheko’s car so different to each other as to Lewis’s car? No, they are probably close to identical with one driver carrying a handful of newer parts for either testing or the team only having 1 set with manufacturing time reasons. But are they identical in terms of their design for their drivers preferences, I would say it is obvious no. I would welcome evidence to the contrary, but this is my, and most experts firm belief.

          6. Will Jones Of course neither of us was trying to do a case study on F1 cars, and were speaking in generalities, and we both agreed that teams may lean a car a certain direction based on a certain driver’s preferences. What we were bucking is the tendency for some to say a driver has a car 100% built for him. There are literally some who insist that LH and VB have exactly equal and neutral cars, like LH has no advantage in terms of preferences from his input over the years, and yet Max does, and that is simply said by some who wish to shade Max like he needs a car-disadvantaged teammate, and make LH sound the hero for having no car preference advantage over his.

          7. @Robbie – that’s fair, I was reacting to the overreaction to the people you’ve described (and in my defence I had just had my shot, was feeling lousy and didn’t pay too much attention to who I was replying too, I know you know better) – there are legitimately people out there claiming that the team design a car in a bubble form the drivers and only pay lip service to their feedback to help manage their egos. I’ve seen people claim that it’s in the rules that both cars must be identical and so on and so on. So apologies, I do know you know better!

          8. Will Jones No worries and thank you for the response. Sorry you’ve had a lousy feeling response to your shot. I was fortunate to have not felt any adverse affects but am not assuming I won’t when I have my second shot.

  13. So Bottas, you chose to burn time fighting your team mate, rather than letting him past and minimising the impact on your own race?

    Toto about to make a big about turn on mid season driver changes lol.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th May 2021, 18:55

      He’s already stated that all the claims about this are entirely false and Mercedes are not Red Bull or Toro Rosso / Alpha Tauri. I think it is pretty unlikely that Bottas will be in Mercedes, but it isn’t impossible. But Changing drivers mid season just messes things up for at least one of the teams involved.

      1. As long as Mercedes keep pulling ahead of Red Bull in the World Constructors’ Championship then I think Valtteri is safely at Mercedes until the end of this season. If the situation were to change, where they believed he was a liability, then I can’t see Valtteri finishing the season with them. I think they’d promote George.

  14. Bottas was an effective 30 seconds behind Hamilton at the end because of a pit stop but no closer to Verstappen. If he had really been challenging Verstappen there might have been an excuse for blocking Hamilton. But he wasn’t despite the team having made Verstappen the target for Bottas.

    if Bottas doesn’t understand that in the current circumstance letting Hamilton through wasn’t to demote him but because Hamilton was up to a second a lap faster and on track to win the race he is not a good team player or not right in his head.

    So poor judgment compounds poor performance. Not a characteristic of a team member solidly embedded in a team.

    1. Indeed, and I remember hearing 3 messages to bottas, in one of them they even told him the laps hamilton was making, so he had to know he was over 1 sec faster.

  15. Bottas is not allowed to take any point away from Lewis.
    Two team orders, one for position are embarrassing for valtteri, Lewis and the team.

    1. What is actually embarrassing is Valtteri’s lack of performance!

    2. ian dearing
      9th May 2021, 20:32

      You are right. He is not allowed to take away points and wins from Mercedes and hand them on a plate to Red Bull.

    3. Red Bull did the same, and any team in the same position would. It was common sense. One of their cars was in a position to win the race. The other was going to finish half a minute down the road on a similar, but compromised, strategy.

      F1 is a team sport, and Bottas needs to get out of the way when it needed for the best team result. There was absolutely no chance of Bottas beating Hamilton, so the only sensible course of action was to aid his team mate on his mission. He chose not to do so, and frankly if he hasn’t had some form of internal discipline I would be amazed.

  16. You’re not doing either, then, Valtteri… If you’re gonna race him, race him. But if you ultimately are going to let him past, just do it at the earliest moment.

    Makes no sense at all to half do it.

  17. Kurt Laguna
    10th May 2021, 0:00

    As a race driver in F1, once you allow the team to tell you to give something to a teammate “All is Lost”. Think back to drivers who accepted a subserviate position to their teammate once and it was never the same for that driver again. Drivers who did this and come to mind are Couthard, Massa, Salo, and of course the poster child for being second – Rubens B. Could be Bottas knows his time is up at MB and he might just want to shift his legecy, even slightly. Too late, anyone see another team taking on Bottas? No, damage has been done, reminds me of the old saying “Better to die on your feet than live a lifetime on your knees”.

  18. Bottas has really lost the plot at this point. Hamilton was on a different strategy and far far faster than Bottas. The team told him that as well. Even without the different strategies, Bottas was clearly slower than Verstappen and Hamilton during the race. We want to see Bottas not be a doormat, but that means putting up a fight when it means something. Not when it holds up your clearly much faster team mate who is fighting for a win and you are fighting for, at best second but most likely 3-4. If he is doing these calculations I’m his head during the race as he said he is, there something wrong with his calculator.

    And if he is “here to race” and “not let people by” he did a pretty poor job with Hamilton. It didn’t take him very long to get past whereas it takes Bottas forever to make a move to get past someone. It seems he is far more aggressive at blocking his teammate than other teams.

  19. Ian Stephens
    10th May 2021, 1:28

    HAM caught BOT easily enough and passed him at the first clear attempt, proving just how much faster he was. Even without team orders BOT was never going to be able to race HAM for position, so he should not have overridden team orders and held up his teammate with no chance of gain himself.

    Reply moderated
  20. Just watched the race again. Bottas had tyres just 1 lap older than Verstappen’s after the first round of pits and was much slower than him and destroyed his way earlier.

    I don’t think he’ll be runner up this year. Hamilton and Verstappen are light years ahead in terms of pace and management.

    1. RP (@slotopen)
      10th May 2021, 4:06

      I don’t see the big deal, he let Hamilton by fast enough. He did his job today by covering Hamilton’s last stop and otherwise being a legitimate concern for Red Bull.

      The team is probably thrilled. With Rosberg (or Russell) in that seat there would be a 3 way title fight, maybe with Verstappen leading. Instead Merc is getting the Record-Smashing Sir Lewis Victory Parade, complete with a legit title fight.

      As for his attitude, he is a racing driver. He didn’t work the last 15 years to be Hamilton’s wingman. He shouldn’t be happy. Sometimes you just got to let stuff go.

      Finally, Mercedes strategy is richer if Red Bull have doubts about Botta’s compliance.

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    10th May 2021, 3:49

    He’s lucky it didn’t cost the team the win – this was the wrong moment for Bottas to take a stand. It must have left everyone on the team with a sour taste in their mouths. I think the easiest thing to have done there is explain and apologize.

  22. BOT has absolutely nothing to answer for here. Knowing they would be stopping him again, they should simply have timed the pitstops to eliminate the need for a pass on track. I’m fairly certain BOT had this in mind as well as the glaring fact that it was only the 4th race of what will hopefully be a very long season ahead. Poor form from the pit wall, not from the BOT cockpit.

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