Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 2015

Hakkinen believes Bottas is champion material

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas could be a world champion if he joins Mercedes according to Mika Hakkinen.

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96 comments on “Hakkinen believes Bottas is champion material”

  1. Will his teammate be Massa?

  2. Mika is spot on, I think Valteri can win the championship too.

    Everybody at Williams have nothing but praise for him, many have gone to say that he is the real deal. Williams should know, they’ve had a few World Champions on their books before.

    The question is how he would fare against Lewis. Valteri seems like the type of guy that just gets on with it, and in typical Finnish form, doesnt seem too chatty either. I doubt he will react to any of Lewis’ mind games or put downs. With Nico, it was pretty obvious that it was getting to him on occasion.

    I think the biggest difference between the Bottas-Hamilton relationship vs the Rosberg-Hamilton relationship is that there is no 20 years of baggage. Valteri will keep Lewis honest, and probably pip him a few times and will be in a championship fight if the car is capable.

    1. So because Williams had nothing but praise for him, that means he can beat Lewis? Ok.

      1. Old English Sayings……..

        ‘Proof of the pudding is in the eating.’……… meaning is pretty clear. Bottas is very good.
        Just how good the next two seasons will clearly indicate. He’ll be up against a guy who never
        takes prisoners…..just like himself !

        Gonna be really interesting……….

    2. mark jackson
      9th January 2017, 1:48

      I don’t think Bottas is as fast as Lewis but that doesn’t mean he can’t beat him. I think Bottas’ success at Mercedes will largely depend on if Lewis wants to show up to work or not. If mr. snapchat Lewis shows up, Bottas will beat him and look like a star. If a focused Lewis shows up, Bottas will look like a flop.

      1. What if he beats a “focused” Lewis?

        There’d be pandemonium! I’m looking forward to that. Lewis will be certain that Toto swapping the draughtsman who designed his pedals is part of a conspiracy..

        1. We won’t know untill we see it ofcourse, but nothing Bottas has done so far suggests he can do that.

    3. Bottas is not a championship material but we all said the same about Rosberg.
      It’s gonna be fun if Hamilton could dig emotional side of this cool kid.

      1. How can he not be championship material? Bottas had the second highest points of a Mercedes powered car after the Mercedes team cars. If he wasn’t Championship material then he wouldn’t have beaten Massa over the season.

        1. @drycrust, the way you’re phrasing that would therefore seem to suggest that Bottas is inferior to Perez, given that he outscored Bottas by 16 points in 2016 (unless you are suggesting that Perez is also a driver who is of championship winning calibre?).

          1. Champion material? What does is it mean really? Niko Hulk is for me champion material but was beaten by Checo consistently.

            Button is a champion but if he wasn’t in a Brawn-Merc he would be

          2. the same with the word material beside it.

            Massa would be a worthy champion but he is hardly champion material.

            The most important thing in F1 is the car. If Merc is dominating still in 2017 Bottas is a contender….. especially if the blonde beaded guy is again this ar Lewis’s chief engineer….. :)

    4. Eh, don’t put too much stock on the phrase “could be champion”. Pretty much half the grid can win the championship under the right circumstance.

      Winning a championship even if the cards are stacked against you though? Now that’s something that Bottas isn’t capable of.

      1. Evidently something Lewis isn’t capable of also

        1. @hollidog Actually Hamilton did it in 2008, FIA did everything to stop Hamilton and helping the Ferrari’s. They even gave Hamilton’s victory in Spa to Massa.

          1. Jeez, I’m a Hamilton supporter and I still think your views are somewhat crazy! I do think Hamilton will beat Bottas decisively in the championship, but Bottas might beat Hamilton in individual races, as he is still a very good driver, just not as good as Hamilton in the long run.

        2. Did you not see 2014? Did you not see 2016, where all things being equal, an engine failure was the only thing that stopped Hamilton from being a champion?

          Or are you just trolling?

          1. @patienceandtime Massa also did everything he could to throw it away too, like dropping it five times at Silvertone, shunting Coulthard in Australia, and spinning in Malaysia. Massa didn’t really deserve the title in ’08.

            @grat What I saw in 2014 was Mercedes absolutely trounce all the other cars on the grid, and LH & NR roughly equal in terms of reliability. LH’s engine failure was far from the only thing which cost him the championship in 2016. Blow-ups happen, its a part of motor racing, and therefore I exclude it from my analysis. What I can’t ignore, is LH’s absence at the start of several Grands Prix.

    5. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      9th January 2017, 8:59

      I wouldn’t take any notice of Williams, they’re like the ‘Everything’s brilliant’ guy from The Fast Show. I can only go off gut instinct and that’s telling me he will be another Heikki but what do I know…… all will be revealed. Bottas was only marginally quicker than Maldonado, he was fairly solid against Felipe overall but nothing to grab the headlines.

    6. Bottas is nowhere near ruthless enough to be a champion in my opinion. Who knows, maybe his approach would change at Mercedes though.

      1. As we’ve seen with Rosberg, Hamilton playing with you will tend to make you a bit tougher. ☺

        1. @dennis Yes, or whining all the time, like Massa did, during the season, where Hamilton and him kept tangling up a bit.
          To be Championship material You have to be able to cope with both the conflicts on track and in the team, all while You drive consistently fast. Nico proved that he had it, this season – he was under tremendous pressure and he kept believing in his chance, even if he knew he was not faster than Lewis, everything else equal. To come back and win despite his team mate having mopped the floor with him 2 seasons in a row, is very impressive. For Nico is has been very difficult to muster that kind of mental strength. Drivers like Lewis, Alonso, Vettel, Ricciardo and Verstappen has this ability to stand their ground mentally, in a conflict wether on or of track.

  3. I’m sorry but there were better captions. It’s illegal in many countries to drive without your hands on the steering wheel, as it can be seen Todt has just made a twitter account an advert made an infringement. These driver less cars are really interesting but you should not be expected to introduced these technologies before the law is changed.

    1. Oh don’t be so negative. I think it’s great, personally.

    2. He used a #ces2017 hashtag, the consumer electronics show that takes place in las vegas nevada.

      Dont you worry about what laws may have been broken… innovation will go on without you.

    3. That caption is brilliant, stop being a hater. The others were pretty awful “Nico could finally relax after winning the championship” etc. zzzz

  4. It seems Jean Todt is taking the same approach to driving as he is to F1.

    1. UNEEDAFINN2WIN
      9th January 2017, 5:17

      This.

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      9th January 2017, 8:50

      😂 brilliant

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        9th January 2017, 8:51

        You’ve just trumped every caption from the competition 😂

    3. This is the kind of stuff comment sections were made for.

      1. I just wish Ecclestone had shown the same approach to F1 as Jean Todt to driving, many years ago:-)

  5. Half the grid, and another 50 racers not on the grid, are championship material sitting in a Mercedes. Tell us something insightful Mika!

  6. I expect Bottas to be fast in quali, a very concentrated and focussed kind of driver.
    In races though I think he misses that killer instinct, not great in overtaking, not great in defending.
    He’s been caught of guard to often, overtaken when he could have maintained his position rather easy…
    (Verstappen TR and RBR) and Ricciardo often faught with Bottas, Bottas who often forgot to defend…at all.

    The general perception of Rosberg was fast, but not a real fighter… I feel it will remain the same with Bottas.

    1. I do wonder how much of his ‘lack of defending’ in certain situations has been down to playing the long game though & trying to manage tyres to have more pace later on (Defending hard early takes life out of the tyres).
      Certainly we have seen cases later on in races where he’s defended/raced a lot harder than he had done earlier in the races.

      1. In general Bottas is know as a mild driver, to my opinion he lack’s a fighter mentality.

        At Monza where Ricciardo made a move, Bottas was just apearring to be sleeping.. no defending at all although he could have easily made one defensive move on the straight. DRS made it easier to overtake, so much that a defender more then often just make way.

        1. IIRC, Bottas was also on ancient tires vs a Ricciardo fresh out of the pits on supersofts.

  7. Wow, reading some of these comments about Bottas is so funny. A driver that many here don’t consider to be that good, all of a sudden “he can beat Lewis”. What, did Lewis become chopped liver overnight?

    I know I’ll hear, “but the same was said of Nico and he beat Lewis”…. I’m no Nico fan, but he’s 10x better than Bottas and would be a tough teammate for any of the top guys on the grid.

    I’m not gonna dismiss Bottas, but come on man, give Lewis some respect, he’s a 3x WDC with the 2nd most wins all time. I’m sure if Bottas was going to be the teammate of Seb, Ric, Max or Alonso, no one would say he could beat any of them?

    1. I think a lot of the comments are based on Bottas over the last 5 years (or however long he has been in F1). As a general feeling, I think he could definitely challenge Hamilton next year. We’ve seen him be pretty ruthless to Kimi when he wanted to, and has been quick most seasons (albeit the occasional time when naturally, he must have been thinking what am I doing driving around in this thing every year).

      My gut instinct is the same as Mika, Bottas is championship material. Luckily it won’t be long until we find out.

      1. My point is/was, every driver who gets paired with Lewis, is automatically lauded as being a potential WDC & everyone jumps on the bandwagon to say the same, which in the same breath is a sign of disrespect to Hamilton and what he has achieved. This wouldn’t have been said had Bottas been paired with any of the drivers I mentioned.

        So no, Bottas is no championship calibre driver. He came into the sport with high praises, had some good races in 2014, but since then, he has gone backwards.

        So due to the lack of respect shown towards Lewis, the majority ‘guy feeling’ will always be that he can beat Lewis, even when the evidence says otherwise.

        1. You are confusing “paired with Lewis” with Driving a Mercedes.

        2. “every driver who gets paired with Lewis, is automatically lauded as being a potential WDC & everyone jumps on the bandwagon to say the same”

          Really? Maybe in 2007, but I remember everyone saying that Button and Rosberg would be destroyed by Hamilton, and they weren’t. Not necessarily saying anything negative about Hamilton, just disagree with your assessment about the consensus.

          1. Prior to the start of the 2014 season, many tipped Rosberg to win because he was so intelligent that he’d adapt to the new complicated PU compared to his ‘naturally talented teammate”.

            So yup, really.

    2. @kgn11 And notice how they gonna warm up to him as well, just fake fans like Rosberg. Mostly clowns who will root for anybody who’s driving against Hamilton. Bottas is not in Hamilton’s league, i expect it to be a walk in the park for Hamilton unless the team will teach him where to break, where position the car and where to break late like they did with Rosberg.

      1. Just as with Button, half the fans Rosberg gained, were from people who hate Lewis and want to see him lose. All those so called Rosberg fans, a lining up to to support anyone who gets the vacant seat.

      2. You mean reading telemetry like drivers have been doing since as long as I can remember?
        Come on… I’m a big Hamilton fan too, but to say those that think Bottas is the real deal are mostly ‘clowns’ is at best patronising and at worst just offensive.

      3. @patienceandtime And lets not overlook the fact that Wolff has been managing Bottas up until this point.

        Whether he has now given up that position or not, there will always be an appearance of a conflict of interest.

        And please, let’s not be naive. Of course he (Wolff) will say otherwise.

  8. A part of Bottas’s management teams believes he is championship material? I’m completely shocked.

    1. The other part is running Merc F1.

  9. If it proves correct that the cars are flat out for 70% of Circuit de Catalunya this year then that doesn’t really bode well from a racing standpoint.

    It also perhaps confirms a fear I have that the cars are going to look like there on rails this year just like they did back around 2004 when people were complaining that everything looked easy & unspectacular (Hence why they started down the path of looking at making them look more difficult to drive).

    I really do fear that the new cars are going to be record breakers in terms of lap time/performance but utterly boring to watch in every other regard. Too much downforce to produce close racing, Harder to overtake without gimmicks, look like there on rails & be less spectacular to watch as a result (I love seeing the cars move around a bit, Hated the earl;y 2000 super high downforce/grip/driver aid on rails cars).

    1. I share your fear… but perhaps it does provide an opportunity to see who’s really good. When overtaking is even harder than in the late 90’s and early 00’s, guys with great racecraft who do pull off a move every now and then would stand out more.

    2. I have to disagree with you, the faster cornering is to my eyes, far more spectacular to watch and will be a greater challenge to driver’s fitness meaning the potential for more mistakes later in the race.

      1. Only if FOM manage to show it on camera @offdutyrockstar (or if you are able to see every race live, I suppose), and their track record isn’t stellar with that.

    3. I think I agree, but I’m looking forward to seeing these things in the wet that’s for sure.

    4. I agree entirely. I was excited until I saw the front wing designs. Racecar Engineering did a cool CFD analysis of the wake of the 2016 vs 2017 cars, and it seems like the turbulence will have a slightly lower effect on the front wing in 2017 with regards to percentage lost at close distance. Don’t know until the season starts if that’s true though. Interestingly they ran a CFD analysis of the more ground effect oriented regs that were initially pitched and they were actually worse for the following car than 2016 regs. I like that they’re making the cars faster, and it seems like they did in fact approach them with the intention of making it easier to follow, but I really think they should have reduced the front wing instead of making it larger, but then Red Bull wouldn’t have signed on.

      1. Don’t forget they’ll be on much better tires that won’t be taken out of their prime operating temps when a driver is fighting in someone’s dirty air. More mechanical grip on tires far less finicky and tires that once out of their prime temp can be brought back into said temp much more quickly.

        1. We’ll see, but I’m not terribly optimistic regarding the tires as most of the speed is aero dependent already and the reason the front tires go on the following car has less to do with the fact that the tires don’t have grip and more to do with the fact that the car begins to push dramatically once that front grip is gone, dragging the front tires across the surface. While thermal degradation is supposed to be reduced and we should see less blistering, there’s still potential for graining (what seems to happen more often to the following car), the tires still aren’t built to go a race distance, and the front tire of the following car will still have less grip than the lead car simply because it doesn’t have the wing pushing it as hard. I feel like the increased size of the front wing and allowing complex designs is going to be detrimental and likely to undo anything they do to the tire once it’s following another car.

          1. @repete86 Yeah we agree we shall have to see and I have more optimism that these tires will be completely different whereas you seem to think they will be barely different. I know there is little reason to trust F1 to go a common sense route, but I honestly have thought and still hope that Pirelli have dramatically changed the characteristic of the tires such that the negative effect you describe in dirty air to the rearward car’s fronts will be far less because they will be wider with a greater contact patch and will not be taken out of their thermal window nearly so easily, as they will be tread-wear degrading tires, not thermally degrading ones, which of course are going to grain more when moved around in dirty air.

            I envision tires more planted to the ground be that by aero downforce or not, and what movement they do have in dirty air affecting them far less negatively, thus allowing a following driver to push more throughout a stint. I certainly was never expecting tires to last a race distance, just allow actual racing and more of it per stint, as opposed to follow the leader and wait for a DRS zone or an undercut.

            Absolutely, clean air dependent cars are never going to behave as well in dirty air, and if F1 hasn’t seen enough in the last two or three years to start to tackle that then they deserve and will get the continuation of the diminishing audience they are experiencing.

          2. @robbie Note that I am definitely not an engineer and could be entirely wrong here, so if someone has better numbers or if I’m misunderstanding friction calculations, feel free to let me know. The cars are currently producing over 2 1/2 tons of downforce near their top speed. Assuming an increase of 25%, that’s over three tons while the car weighs less than one. The weight distribution is mandated at 45% front and the front wing produces roughly 25% of the car’s total downforce. Just for sake of argument, let’s say there’s half of a ton of downforce on the front axle through a fast corner like Eau Rouge in clean air with the new regs and the rest of the aero is unaffected by dirty air. With 500 kg of downforce from the wing, 500 from the body, and 325 kg of mass over the front wheels due to the minimum weight and specified weight ratio of 45% front, and assuming a coefficient of friction of 1 on the old tires, that’s around 13000 newtons of energy required to make the front break lose. Reduce the wing downforce percentage by 25%, and that drops us to around 11800, which means that we’re losing 1200 newtons of force on the front. This in turn shifts the aero balance rearwards, making the front even more likely to come lose. Double the amount of tire grip (I don’t think they really doubled it, but just for argument’s sake that’s the number we’re using), and the force of the friction then changes to 26000 newtons on the front and then in dirty air it drops by 2500 newtons. The percentage lost drops, but not by all that much. It’s a difference in downforce between clean and dirty air of 10.1% on the old and 9.6% on the new tires. If I run the same calculations using the old aero on old tires (we’ll use the same car mass since it’s not all that far off), I’m getting 375 kg from the wing 375 from the body, and 325 from the weight of that car for a total of around 10500 newtons in clean air and 9200 in dirty air, or a loss of around 12%. It’s definitely an improvement, but it’s also assuming that they literally doubled the available tire grip. The reality’s probably somewhere in the middle. What we might see with the tires being a bit hardier is cars being able to follow closely for longer which could make the following car more likely to capitalize on a mistake by the lead driver or force an error, but I don’t think it’s going to fundamentally make overtaking easier.

  10. If Rosberg was championmaterial its safe to say pretty much anyone on the grid including Bottas is.

  11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    9th January 2017, 11:51

    Anyone could be a champion in that car.

    As for Bottas specifically, why not? He’s shown he’s pretty good on numerous occasions – certainly enough to make you think he’d probably win races if given the machinery.

    Well it looks like he’s going to get it – so we’ll all see if he can.

  12. I think there are a few areas where Bottas really needs to up his game before we can consider him as a serious championship contender. Then again, we said the same of Rosberg, who clearly worked on his mentality and racecraft and look where that got him.

    Bottas has never been a particularly strong starter, which will almost certainly cost him if he is towards the front. He also hasn’t seemed to quite find the right balance in terms of being too aggressive in combat, or not aggressive enough. That is another area he is going to need to look at, because the likes of Ricciardo and Verstappen will take advantage.

    Bottas is quick, it would be silly to deny that. He is such a consistently strong qualifier, and is usually thereabouts at the very least in the races. He can make alternate strategies work, and what mistakes he does make seem to not be too costly. However, he is by no means in the top bracket of drivers right now, and if he is to become champion, he will need to work on that.

    1. @craig-o I don’t disagree with your analysis but am mindful that it has been constructed after observing a driver in non-top-3 cars, so I expect at a minimum to see him do more with more car, than he has been able to show, simply because of the equipment. I think all the drivers will benefit from being off the joke tires in terms of being less handcuffed to actually race.

      1. The Williams was a top-3 car for two of the four years he was driving it.

        1. Fair point. Suffice it to say a distant 3rd not a close 3rd so my point still stands…a driver is coloured by his car. The 2017 Mercedes should by all accounts be either the number 1 car or a very close 2nd I would think. Night and day different to a car that is a distant 3rd in the Constructors and obviously lacking in several areas, including team resources when it comes to Williams vs the traditional big teams.

          1. I’d argue that for 2014 it was actually the second best car, but the team couldn’t string a weekend together. They should have won in Austria, Russia, and maybe Abu Dhabi that year. I guess we’ll see next year, but I was actually a bit disappointed in his results against Massa. He was faster, but not emphatically like Fernando was when they were together.

          2. Hmmm I still think in spite of their literal standing in the constructors, or your theoretical suggestion of second best car, that VB has only had cars that were never serious contenders and therefore he’s been coloured that way and has had far more issues in his way than the true big 3 or 4 teams would have provided him. Comparing FM to FA at Ferrari when that car was truly a stronger contender to any Williams that VB has had doesn’t work for me.

            Anyway, don’t mean to sound argumentative, and the bottom line I think we can all agree on is that VB will (presumably) have the best car he has had so far, by far, and thus the best opportunity to show us a raised game.

          3. @robbie Nope, you don’t sound argumentative at all and I hope that I don’t either. I just like being able to have actual nuanced discussions about these things with people who seem to be paying attention and don’t just go “OMG [insert driver or team here] IZ BEST EVVARRRR NO 1 CAN BEET HIM!!!2!!!!!!1!!!@!!!!” I’m not bashing Bottas. He’s damn good. I was just expecting a clearer gap between the two.

          4. @repete86 Lol fair comment. Never thought at any point that you were bashing VB either. This season is going to be fascinating from several fronts and VB vs LH is just one of them.

  13. My Italian isn’t 100% bulletproof, but according to that Motorsport article, maximum speeds aren’t going to suffer in 2017.
    While I’d love that to be true (I’m a sucker for speed and hated the V8 years for having cars that barely scratched the 300 kph mark on most tracks), I doubt that analysis:

    – As I understand it, the stunning top speeds we’ve seen under the new regulations (and particularly in 2016) were merely a by-product of the severe aero restrictions. All cars used maximum downforce setups on all circuits minus Monza, because the maximum obtainable downforce was rather close to a low downforce setup, historically speaking.
    – I can’t remember who it was, but a few weeks/months ago, a high-profile engineer was quoted as saying that 2017 was going to be the first season since at least 2008 where cars won’t use a maximum downforce setup on all tracks bar Monza.
    – By simple logic, the first statement is incompatible with the next two. If there really was no drag penalty for using more downforce, then there would be no reason to reduce downforce on any track in the first place.

    My guess is that the author made an oversimplification that might account for the situation on low downforce tracks. It is quite possible that the loosened aero restrictions give rise to cars that are much more aerodynamically efficient, so that it is conceivable that a car could generate enough downforce for competitive lap times on a low-to-medium downforce track, all while still generating less drag than the 2016 one-size-fits-all maximum downforce setup (which would be a poor omen for overtaking, as aerodynamically efficient cars tend to benefit less from slipstreaming), thus allowing for comparable top speeds.
    However, I don’t see this happening on high downforce tracks. After all, it’s not like they *didn’t want to* have more downforce in 2016, it’s just that they *couldn’t* generate it.

    1. Racecar Engineering did a CFD analysis of the designs. I’ll have to look it up later, but the new cars definitely produce more drag, but also seem to be more efficient. Teams are citing a 25% increase in downforce, RE is claiming that their model’s showing over 30% with a drag increase of around 15% (forget the exact number they cited, but it was there or thereabouts). The big question is what happens with the engines. With the stupid token system gone, the manufacturers are allowed to do more. It wasn’t just a case of how much you were allowed to change. Year by year, they started freezing components. For example, the crankshafts themselves have been frozen since 2015. Honda’s engine next year is entirely different using the Mercedes split-turbo and I imagine that most teams are making dramatic changes since they can now alter things that were maybe not perfect but previously set in stone. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an engine jump to make up for most of the lost top end.

  14. 70% of the lap distance at full throttle at Circuit de Catalunya sounds quite crazy to me considering Monza’s the only place where a similar amount of percentage of the lap distance is driven at full throttle, so if they actually can achieve that then the lap times could be matching the pre-2007 times despite having to negotiate an extra chicane.

  15. I just don’t see how anything can be worse than the F1 lite we have had with the ridiculous tires that handcuff the drivers and diminish the racing. If they can now go flat out more than before, then that tells me the drivers will actually be able to push these cars and themselves. Worst case scenario…processions…like we’ve had…only with drivers trundling along slowly, unchallenged, on gadget tires that don’t belong in the pinnacle.

    Let’s give the new formula a chance and I’ll say as I said before, I believe these cars have much greater potential to be tweeked if indeed the racing is still absent. I refuse to run F1 into the ground for acknowledging there’s been no gain from the previous format, and trying to change it with the right intentions…faster cars that are more challenging for the drivers on tires that will be able to deal with some dirty air. If it’s still processional at least we will know the drivers are being taxed at the same time and for me that’s big. And then they can diminish the aero a bit if they have to while they’ve got mechanical grip from the tires. I suspect they may be able to voluntarily diminish their own aero downforce in favour of top straightaway speeds because they will have more mechanical grip for the corners now. Aero is only ever used to the max at Monaco and is always a balancing act as to how much to go with at every other track anyway.

  16. Meant this as a response to @PeterG

  17. Regarding Bottas. What gets me is when you look at his performances vs Massa and in fact when you analyse some of his races. Quick on his day but I struggle to think of exceptional drives from him with a few exceptions like his podiums. Austria 2014 he was outqaulified for pole position by Massa although got him in the race for example. Also when Ferrari where looking for Seb’s team mate there was talk that because Bottas was more or less on par with Massa Ferrari overlooked him since they knew what they had with Felipe. So perhaps it’s safe to say the jury is still out. I expect Lewis to get the better of him quite comfortably particularly as he knows the team and the car has been developed to his (and Rosberg’s) liking over the years. But perhaps next year will be more reflective of what Bottas is made of as he moulds his team of mechanics around him- time will reveal all.

    1. Yeah let’s see what VB can do in a (presumably) win and WDC capable car which he has never had in F1. And indeed let’s give him some time and patience to gel with the team and they with him.

  18. People should stop with the nonsense. Look what it took for Nico to “win”. Engine problems for Ham in qualy in China and Russia. Engine penalty in Spa. Engine problem in Malaysia. Lewis was not given a chance to compete fairly in 4 of 21 races while Nico mysteriously had ZERO engine issues all year. Nico whined and complained for Hamilton’s engineers/mechanics and Toto made the most boneheaded decision ever. Even with all that bullchit from the team Lewis still won the most races and had the most polls in 2016. Bottas has yet to win a rhas, therefore the “threat level” to Lewis is not high. Mercedes better not be fools and should realise Lewis is an all time legendary driver and the clear #1. All things being equal with the cars Lewis will romp this year.

    1. ‘”People should stop with the nonsense.”

      “Nico mysteriously…”

      Nuff said.

      1. OK. You like Hamilton. We get it.

    2. You lost your credibility at “Nico mysteriously” lol

  19. If Mercedes do have a car capable of challenging for the championship, then the early part of the season will be key for Bottas if he is to challenge Hamilton.

    I feel that Bottas’ best chance is if Hamilton has a DNF at one of the early races, like he did in Australia 2014, to hand Bottas an early points advantage (particularly advantageous if there are multiple teams challenging). Even then it would still be a tall order because the way that Hamilton tends to respond to being behind (i.e. His ability to string runs of good races together when under pressure) is well known. Just look at those last races of last season.

    The media pressure should not be underestimated, especially in the first season as a contender. In that respect, Hamilton has the experience of several championship challenges, and they’ve differed greatly. I think that the challenge from Rosberg over the last few years has really hardened him and will make him even more of a formidable opponent. A decent challenge from Bottas this coming season will be highly commended by myself.

    1. @3dom Yes I think it would only be fair to VB to expect him to need some time to gel with the team. LH starts off with the advantage of being engrained there, so I don’t look forward to the VB slags by certain posters when come race 1 he doesn’t match LH. I do think VB will be absolutely stoked to be in this car, but let’s all give him a fair shot at acclimatizing to the team and they to him. LH has an immediate and natural advantage, and VB will just be starting out in the best car he will have had so far in his career. This is not the season, or at a minimum not the first half of a season, to be fairly comparing the drivers at Mercedes.

      1. These are the best drivers on the world. No need to find excuses, they have done this all their lives. Give them the best car and they will drive it as fast as they can. As long as they have equal time in the car at preseason testing, you can compare them.

        1. @thetick Not finding excuses, it’s just reality. You can’t seriously think LH’s tenure at Mercedes so far and all the knowledge and data and work they have done together can be discarded once VB has had a relative handful of test days on the team equal to that of LH. Either VB and his side of the garage deserve some time, or F1 is way too easy.

          1. Actually i can. That is what top class race drivers do. While it might take a bit for him and his crew to work on peak efficiency, Bottas has been doing f1 long enough for him to know how he wants his car and how to tell his people that. It didn’t take Verstappen long to know the Red Bull and that was mid season. He should be able to run laptimes as fast as lewis on the first raceday and i am pretty sure he feels the same way.

          2. Fair enough. I will hope for the best but I personally won’t be too critical of him in the early days of his tenure at Merc. And Max moved within the same family so they would have had data on him. We shall see what we shall see. Undoubtedly VB is stoked and can’t wait.

          3. @robbie @thetick I think that it is probably better for Bottas that his move to Mercedes coincides with the change in regulations so that they’re all getting used to the new feel of both the new cars and tyres.

          4. @3dom Yeah that’s a very strong and valid point.

  20. I’m very happy for Bottas he will be given the chance of a life time to win Grand Prix, a chance many will envy him for, win a championship with a man like Lewis next to him is not going to happen though.

  21. Joakim Jarnstrom
    9th January 2017, 22:48

    If I remember correctly, Mika belongs to Bottas management team. Consequently Mikas comment is not an objective comment by any means. Furthermore, all drivers in F1 should be world champion material in the right car, if they are not, they should race at a lower level. Sadly F1 is more about car building and engineering than a drivers competition.

    In my opinion Bottas is good and stable driver that has a chance at the title in the right car. He is not the best driver out there but consistency can take you far.

  22. Anyone in that Mercedes seat is a very real runner for championship. Even if Mercedes magically loose 1s advantage, they will still be firmly in ballpark.

    If they don’t there are plenty of guys who can take on and win against Lewis, when he is off form, like he was late 2015 and early 2016. Nico won like 9 races in a row?

    If Bottas just gets on with it, and Lewis does some of his not best races .. Boom. Shocker

    Then there is also a highly unlikeley scenario, he beats Lewis even when Lewis is in top form. That would be amazing, then he clearly is WChamp material.

    In any case it will be fun, like last 4 years with Nico

  23. If Mika says it, he means it.

  24. Agree with Joakim a little further above. All F1 drivers have the potential to be WDC if they have the right car and appropriate support from their team. It’s getting into the right car that’s the issue, and you don’t normally get that chance unless the team thinks you can contribute. I get the sense, though, that Bottas is seen as a relatively mild-mannered, safe pair of hands who is unlikely to engage in the sort of friction that occurred between Lewis and Nico. I think he’s in the Massa mould; fast, capable of scoring points – even capable of being WDC if circumstances allow – so nobody’s fool, but ultimately likely to toe the corporate line if/when required. I think, more than anything else, Mercedes want a quiet year where they can focus on the car rather than on personality clashes within the team.

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