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Featured Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes Support Driver or Equal Footing With Hamilton?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Bottas Mercedes No2.jpg
    With a shaky start to the 2017 season and a recent team order to allow Hamilton past at Bahrain, do you think Mercedes are looking for Bottas to act in a supporting role this season?

    The level of competition at the front of the Formula One field in 2017 is arguably the strongest it's been since Mercedes found regular race winning pace back in 2014, and with the combative Nico Rosberg now enjoying retired life away from the spotlight could the Mercedes mantra "let them race" already be a thing of the past?

    Rosberg's decision to call time on his Formula One career just five days after clinching his first Formula One World Championship shocked the racing world, and left his Mercedes team with a considerable headache as to who would replace the outgoing German come the new season in 2017. With few reasonable options on the table as to a partner for three time WDC Lewis Hamilton, and with the majority of the big name drivers already locked under contract for at least the next 12 months, Mercedes were left with little choice than to opt for the talented if understated Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, as apposed to the risker strategy of picking from the relatively inexperienced pool of up and coming driving talent sitting on the outskirts of the top teams in Grand Prix racing at present.

    Looking back now the signing of Bottas was the only real option for Mercedes at such a late stage in the year, with the quiet Finn under management from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Williams seemingly willing to let him leave the team for appropriate financial contributions from the German outfit, a safe pair of hands and steady head was just the ticket Mercedes were looking for after an occasionally highly fraught and emotional relationship between life long rivals Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in recent years.

    However now that the first three races of the new season have been and gone, and Bottas hasn't exactly covered himself in the glory someone of his considerable talent and experience would expect, the question on everybody's lips is will Mercedes look to maintain their recent strategy of affording both drivers the same opportunity for success, or in the light of Ferrari's new found competitiveness and the ever present threat of a still misfiring Red Bull team how likely are the Silver Arrows to place Bottas in a supporting role alongside Hamilton in a bid to help the controversial British driver secure his fourth World Drivers Championship?

    Looking at the evidence of Bahrain, where Mercedes requested Bottas allow his more experienced team mate through to take the position, Bottas looks to be in a vulnerable place within the team at the moment. Allegedly signed to just a single year contract, the Mercedes drive is a big break for Bottas and with half an eye on securing a longer term deal in the future, under some stiff opposition from the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Riccardo and Fernando Alonso reportedly thought to be available for the 2018 season, will Bottas be willing to rock the boat at base camp and stake out his claim for equal footing within the Mercedes team?

    It has always been a Mercedes policy to allow both drivers to race hard against each other until mathematically impossible for one of them to win the World title, however now established race winning drivers no longer hold a position in both team seats, and with the Merc advantage not as strong as has been previously the case, will the team revert back to the standard clear number one / number two policy so successfully adopted by many previous championship winning outfits, and avoid the possibility of Hamilton and Bottas taking valuable championship points away from each other - as has previously been the case with McLaren in 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and Ferrari the following season with Räikkönen and Massa? Where does this leave Bottas in his position with the team, and what will it mean for the Finnish drivers career in Formula One over the next few seasons?

    Well for starters Bottas is going to have to substantially up his game at Mercedes to at least match teammate Hamilton if he wants to avoid finding himself in the position to begin with, as of the opening three rounds of the season Bottas trails the number 44 by 23 points and hasn't show race pace suitable to contend with the top runners, bringing the decision deadline from Mercedes all the closer as the race at the front continues to hot up further.

    Bottas was once called a future World Champion by Frank Williams, and undoubtedly he is a talent capable of winning Grand Prix and on his day performing with the very best of the best, the question remains whether his time is indeed now, or if Mercedes can afford to give him the room to develop before the greater needs of the team have to be considered.

    For us fans watching at home, it should make for an intriguing spectacle over the course of the rest of the season.



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    Do you think Bottas is considered a support driver for Hamilton within Mercedes? Does the Finn have what it takes to ensure equal footing? Does having 2 number 1's in a team work in modern times? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  2. Celestiale

    Celestiale
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    Seriously, Vettel is saving the season right now.
    I hope that Mercedes does "a Verstappen" and replaces Bottas with Wehrlein during the season, would definitely up the excitement, if they had a driver that can and does rival Hamilton on race pace. But never gonna happen, they wanted a second driver, and they got the perfect one. Baricchello reloaded
     
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  3. Benutzername

    Benutzername
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    I think it's pretty simple.

    No team wants collisions between their drivers. Thats why Mercedes set rules for Nico and Lewis while battling. That was no teamorder, just reasonable. They still raced each other more or less.

    As their was no other team near them, no team orders were needed.

    If the chanpionship turns out to be Vettel vs. Bottas they will (or Hamilton ;)) certainly make the way free for Bottas. If he likes it or not. I could see Hamilton disobeying and causing internal problems with the team.
    Bottas seems to be clever enough to support the team if it is needed.


    What we saw in Bahrain was no teamorder in terms of number 1 or number 2. They had different strategies, in both situations Lewis was much faster because of that and it was logical to not waste time in a battle.
    I believe every team would do that. Bottas said he understood the reason for it.


    So simple situation: If the race outcome can be improved for the team -> Teamorder, but not a #1 or #2 status.
    If the drivers championship is between one driver and a driver from another team -> Favoring one driver for the rest of the year.

    I believe that this is only logical and nothing personal. Bottas job is now to stay in touch with Seb and Lewis
     
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  4. Celestiale

    Celestiale
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    *Cough Cough* Ferrari
     
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  5. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Bang on the money with that I think.

    The similarities are actually startling..

    Baricchello was a massive talent in the junior ranks and really did look the real deal when he came to Formula One with Jordan. Drove the wheels off that thing and the Stewart, but soon as Ferrari called he was placed in a secondary position and that was the end of his real career to be fair.

    Anyone who races knows this as fact, even with exactly the same machine under you when racing for high stakes just the lack of confidence that the team are really behind you (think Webber @ Red Bull) is enough to erode away those final tenths / thousandths that make the difference. I suspect if not already the case then it soon will be at Merc that Bottas loses that last bit of confidence / support and Merc position him as a steady second driver. Assuming he plays the team game (which he did at Bahrain by shifting immediately out of the way) then he might get a second season in the car, assuming they (Merc) don't want to secure a top tier driver in the other seat.

    It's sad, and I'm exceptionally grateful the car isn't a runaway success as previous years, because if Ferrari fall off pace then it's just another easy cruise to the title for Hamilton.

    ... and I remember everyone saying Button only won the title because of the best car (which was the best car for the first six races only...). Hmmmm, 2014, 2015, 2016 anyone?
     
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  6. Celestiale

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  7. PartyPePe

    PartyPePe

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    don't know why bottas had so bad race pace since he was fastest in qualy after all and in australia he had similar race pace as hamilton
     
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  8. Allan Adams

    Allan Adams
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    His name will be soon bend over Bottas, for that will be his role at Mercedes. He is not fast enough to be on that team.
     
  9. Mr Latte

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    Gees give the guy time to settle in, Bottas hasn't had a great start to be fair but lets at least wait to mid season to determine if he deserves his seat. For now, he isn't doing any worse than Kimi at the moment even with his spin in China.
     
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  10. gamer19

    gamer19

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    You people....
    You just want a blood. And conspiracy theories where there's no one.
    It's the FIRST time in three races that he did something like this.
    Yes, third option, too early to tell.
    Valtteri didn't gave good pace, as he said, if you already suggest he just let Lewis go, do you think he prefer to almost do the same with Kimi?
    HE said it's lack of pace. I trust the guy, he seems like one of the most sincere among them. If not without that "one of".

    That.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  11. slingshot64

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    Too early to tell to be fair i think , he has done what he is paid to do and 1 race is not the end of him.
    Must be hard right now for him.
    I like him and wish him well.
     
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  12. gamer19

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  13. snyperal

    snyperal
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    Lots of controversy this last race, thoroughly enjoyed it. Looked like the early stop paid dividends for Vettel this time, although i think if Hami hadnt played silly buggers with Ricciardo things may have been a little more interesting. He really blew past him on the restart, poor guy. Verstappen was also unfortunate, I think he had pace this weekend to cause some hi jinks. pity. I was also hoping Alonso would actually finish his race, he was right in the middle of some epic battles all race, and a shame his car died on him.
     
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  14. dctoe

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    Just to start by saying I am not at all a fan of team orders. I understand them for the big picture but really don't like them. One of those things about NASCAR that makes it so exciting is to have even teammates fighting for the win easily outweighs the fact that we turn left so much. Sometimes they respect each others boundaries, sometimes not. That's part of the fun when the green flag drops.

    Regarding Bottas being fast enough; how will we ever know if they keep telling him to play 2nd chair to Lewis? I say that being a fan of Hami. And finishing 3rd yesterday is no small feat! Especially with *cough cough* Ferrari and waiting for Verstappen to get into the mix. That's just a matter of time before he catches his breath and becomes a variable.

    I know the reality, but I voted "too early" anyway. #timewilltell ;)
     
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  15. Tobiman

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    I highly doubt Wehrlein is as good as Bottas. He consistently outperformed Massa and had a much better resume upon entering F1.
     
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  16. Luca Antinori

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    I have the feeling Bottas will get the pace later in the season and will be ready to challenge Hamilton. He already has been driving pretty fast, and he just needs a bit of time to prove himself.
     
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  17. Chris

    Chris
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    The switch was nothing to do with the pecking order. For Mercedes it was simple math: Either you let Hamilton through and have a possible chance to win the race, or, don't switch the drivers and risk getting undercut by Raikkonen.
     
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  18. Celestiale

    Celestiale
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    Wehrlein makes cars look way better then they are, he is the only one in that respect apart from Alonso, and arguably Vettel in the whole of Formula 1. He could well be one of the best 3 or 4 drivers in F1, we will know if he steps into the right car.
    He won the DTM aged 20, which is probably the highest profile touring car racing on the planet. With 20 similar cars, not 2 or 4 like in F1. The same DTM btw, in which other F1 drivers like Ocon or Glock did see no land at all.
    Now he comes back after a serious injury, steps into the worst car of the grid, for the first time driving a 17 spec car, and is beating Alonso on pace, and almost getting into the points. If you seriously occupy yourself with him, there can't be any doubt about his class.
    Whether he is one of the 3 or 4 best drivers in F1, or one of the 7,8 best ones is obviously hard to tell given the crap he has to drive so far. But i am pretty confident he would spank Bottas, just like he did with every other teammate he had so far. And i am pretty sure Mercedes knows it as well, but just don't want a serious rival for Hamilton in this phase. If you evaluate all what has been told by Wolff and Lauda - without any translation errors - it becomes obvious that Bottas is only a short-time plan, and they highly rate Wehrlein as future Nr.1 driver.
     
  19. Tobiman

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    Have you asked yourself why Force India turned Werhlein down for Ocon with zero experience?
    Bottas won GP3, Formula renault 2.0 & F3 multiple times beating the likes of Ricciardo in top form. I'm not insinuating that Werhlein hasn't improved or isn't good but I highly doubt he's a better driver than Bottas. He's certainly not as good as Perez, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Alonso and arguably Vandoorne. That's almost half the grid.
    If Werhlein was the best man for the mercedes, he would be in the car today. No questions asked.
     
  20. Tobiman

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    Bottas, unfortunately, wasn't getting the best out of the car during the race, despite qualifying on pole which is no small feat. Hamilton, on the other hand, was getting more out of the car and had a chance of catching Vettel and winning the race, albeit very slim. It was a chance merc were willing to take and Hamilton was going to overtake Bottas regardless.
     
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