Is Bottas really safe?

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    Ben Needham

    Since the summer break, Valtteri Bottas has been quite a way off Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s getting between the two of them regularly since Belgium. His early season pace was actually rather promising, but since Belgium he’s been an average of over 0.8secs adrift of Hamilton in qualifying. He’s also scored only two podiums in the last six Grand Prix’s, dominated by his team-mate.

    In reality, it means very little because Mercedes have again won the WCC and Hamilton will surely wrap up the WDC at the next round. But internally, will Mercedes be concerned about a driver who will need to be on top of his game in 2018 to fend off the Ferrari’s again, coupled with what’s sure to be a much more competitive Red Bull?

    Nico Rosberg had/has his critics, but was always either right behind Hamilton, or challenging him. Bottas doesn’t seem to be anywhere near to Lewis recently. He may be contracted for next year, but surely he needs to step up his game and prove that he’s a better option than say, Ocon or Wehrlein, let alone Verstappen or Ricciardo.


    As long as Hamilton keeps dominating, his under-performances kinda go under the radar as they can be explained/excused by Hamilton’s great performances. But the minute the Ferraris get a hold of Lewis, Bottas will be required to deliver the goods to fend them off.

    Lionel V

    Bottas is not completely safe. He has the contract for next year but can’t Mercedes pay up and get someone else in? I remember Ferrari paying off the last year of Kimi’s contract (2010?).

    If Ferrari and Red Bull step up next season, Bottas has to do better. Done by Raikonnen and Verstappen in a car that Hamilton was winning the race in was so poor. He failed to apply enough pressure to Vettel.

    What may save him is the lack of an absolute standout option to replace him. Lot’s of drivers with potential, but Merc won’t replace Bottas unless they are convinced of getting an improvement.


    @supertec – correct, rumors are they paid him 20mill NOT race- I could do that lol.

    Bottas isn’t safe. I am a big fan of his and love the no-nonsense attitude & at the start of the year thought he would be a few 10ths slower than Lewis, but beat him on the day every few races. Which he did a little, but now that’s going backwards. I think he may be a bit like Kyvat in its more mental than his skills. Maybe just seeing Lewis was actually THAT good?

    I cant see him being in the Mercedes in 2019. I see Daniel or Esteban Ocon- all depends on what Lewis will do and how Dan thinks both Red Bull will fare, and if he can beat Max.

    If Lewis stays a bit longer they may throw Ocon in the car as the kid is real good. Make him the next team leader.
    If Lewis suggests he may retire they need a team leader and Dan is the guy for it.
    OR- team Dan and Lewis together and let they duke it out – I think both would be up for it!


    Bottas was impressive for the first half of the year, but has been very bad since summer. Not been helped but how incredible Hamilton has been recently

    If I was Toto I’d be thinking about Ricciardo for 2019.


    I think Bottas will never match Lewis, and therefore he is the perfect choice for Mercedes. They have Lewis who will do the job. They have endured three years to two roosters in the same camp and don’t want it again. Everyone might be criticising the Ferrari 1-2 strategy but it works, and it works all the more if both top teams do it, because then it evens itself out. Both teams can fight for both titles without any interteam hassle.

    That being said it raises another question. Lewis has undoubtedly operated on another level than 2014-2016 (for me) but would he be where he is now if Rosberg had stayed. Mercedes would’ve wrapped it up earlier most likely but would Lewis be this far ahead of Vettel? Or would Rosberg even be second, challenging Hamilton.

    That being said, Bottas is the perfect match for Mercedes, but more importantly for Hamilton.


    Maybe! Ferrari only works with their 1-2 if they have no interest in winning a Constructors Championship – which it seems they do not.

    No disrespect to Kimi- he is great- but done his time – BWOAH. We will miss his comments for sure.

    The main issue here is in fact Ferrari has no desire to win WCC as they get a massive payment to as they have been in F1 since 1950. I think its 100 million Euro?? Liberty seems to want to fix this and that’s good.

    When you look at it, Force India have been Constructors Champions for the past few years.


    @FlatSix is exactly right. Imagine how the championship would be right now if Rosberg had been taking wins off of Hamilton! It’d be 2007 all over again!



    Lewis has undoubtedly operated on another level than 2014-2016 (for me) but would he be where he is now if Rosberg had stayed.

    This is a good question. I think the mind games with Rosberg were a distraction for Hamilton. Especially after Monaco 2014 I think his focus was more on beating Rosberg than winning for himself, because he felt Nico was playing dirty. This year he’s definitely more at ease, even when Bottas was winning there was no stress there, and when Vettel tried pushing his buttons he didn’t react poorly.

    Sportsmanship is a big thing for Hamilton. To me it seems like he can deal with drivers from other teams playing tricks, but when it comes from inside his team, or from the sport’s governance, it gets to him.

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