Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2017

Second win for Bottas raises prospect of a three-way title fight

2017 Austrian Grand Prix reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Valtteri Bottas won the Austrian Grand Prix, finishing just six-tenths of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

He may well have started the Austrian Grand Prix six-tenths of a second sooner than his rival as well. After the race Vettel was still in disbelief that the pole sitter had got away so quickly.

But more importantly for the Ferrari driver was that he kept the other Mercedes behind, and extended his championship lead again.

Too good to be true?

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2017
2017 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
It wasn’t hard to see why Vettel felt his fellow front row occupant’s getaway was too good to be true. The lead Mercedes seemed to pull away at the very instant the red lights went out, as if Bottas had no reaction time at all.

Vettel admitted the distraction of seeing Bottas get away so well affected his own start. Daniel Ricciardo, who started directly behind Vettel, also got on his radio to suggest Bottas had got away a bit too well.

The stewards soon had more to deliberate than a possible jump start. Daniil Kvyat arrived at turn one too quickly, locked his brakes and punted Fernando Alonso’s McLaren into Max Verstappen’s slow-starting Red Bull. As often happens in these situations reverse poetic justice applied, so the two innocent parties ended their races while Kvyat carried on, albeit with a drive-through penalty and more points on his licence.

Behind Bottas and Vettel, Ricciardo took up third place having outfoxed Kimi Raikkonen at the start. Romain Grosjean had also taken advantage of the Ferrari driver, whose seat he openly covets, and no doubt took some pleasure in holding him back for two laps until DRS was enabled and Raikkonen reclaimed the place.

By lap seven Grosjean had lost another place, to Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s retirement was the only place Hamilton had gained on the first lap, but after that he picked off Sergio Perez and then took fifth from the Haas.

With that the remaining five ‘Class A’ cars began to separate themselves from ‘Class B’. Grosjean went on to ‘win’ the sub-division. As he fell back from the rest, a gap opened up in front of him into which the leaders could made their pit stops.

Hamilton jumps Raikkonen

One by one the front-runners passed up the chance to take advantage of the gap ahead of Grosjean. Bottas was pulling away rapidly and the stewards ruled his start had been legal, by a tiny fraction. Vettel was slowly losing touch and Ricciardo also dropping back, but none were in a hurry to exchange their ultra-softs for anything tougher.

Raikkonen was less happy with his car and was also having to juggle complicated switch changes at the wheel. Behind him Hamilton was drawing closer but clearly not in a position to get ahead.

Leaving Raikkonen out had an obvious upside to Ferrari in that he could protect Vettel from Hamilton and potentially cost Bottas some time as well when the leading Mercedes finally came in. But their options were limited: Bringing Raikkonen in and putting him on the super-soft tyre might not produce the kind of immediate lap-time advantage needed to ensure he would beat Hamilton via the ‘undercut’.

As it was, Mercedes took the initiative by bringing Hamilton in, reminding him not to follow the Ferrari down the pit lane if Raikkonen has summoned to the pits. He wasn’t, and Ferrari were left to consider whether to pit Raikkonen.

The team called him in initially, but Hamilton’s pace on his out-lap, even on a circuit as short as the Red Bull Ring, was so superior Ferrari swiftly realised it was hopeless to pit Raikkonen. They left him out.

If Ferrari hoped Raikkonen might now play a spoiler for Bottas when he was brought in, they were swiftly disappointed on that count too. The combination of DRS, fresh tyres on the Mercedes and a slight error by Raikkonen at turn three meant two Finns quickly exchanged positions.

Ricciardo holds on to the podium

Hamilton’s radio messages immediately after his pit stop indicated the Mercedes driver was in trouble. Hamilton complained of poor balance and suggested he’d added too much front wing.

Was this a ruse to dupe Red Bull into telling Ricciardo to ease off? He was told of Hamilton’s lack of pace, but as soon as the Mercedes began putting in serious lap times Ricciardo was alerted and responded. Even so, the contest for the final podium position was close.

Hamilton gave it a proper go on the penultimate lap. Ricciardo’s run out of turn one was not his best, and the Mercedes lined him up nicely at the exit of turn three. Ricciardo covered the inside of the next corner and won the contest, and a tidy final tour thwarted Hamilton’s hopes for good.

Meanwhile it was almost as close in the battle for the lead. Bottas picked up a blister and fell into the clutch of Vettel. In a chase reminiscent of Sochi, Vettel drew the Mercedes in range as the laps ticked down. There was just tenths of a second between them as the chequered flag fell.

Palmer misses the points

Hopes of a double points finish for Haas were scotched when Kevin Magnussen suffered his second technical problem in as many days: A particularly cruel blow on one of the strongest weekends so far for this team.

Williams had struggled dreadfully in qualifying, both cars lining up on the penultimate row. But their race pace was better and, crucially, both made huge gains out of the lap one chaos. They filled the bottom two points places behind the Force India drivers.

Jolyon Palmer had also gone out in Q1 but found his Renault handled well on the soft tyres at the beginning of the race. It wasn’t quite enough for him to break into the points, however. He was followed home by Stoffel Vandoorne, who received a drive-through penalty for a particularly egregious violation of the blue flag rules.

Nico Hulkenberg had a horrible race: He went into anti-stall at the start, fell to the rear of the field, and had no pace on the super-softs. He finished ahead of the Saubers and the delayed Kvyat.

Three-way title fight

With his second victory in his first nine races as a Mercedes driver, Bottas can surely feel very confident about his future at the team. Going into the race weekend Toto Wolff spoke about his work so far in glowing terms while playing down the possibility Alonso might join them next year. This win must enhance his chances of remaining a Mercedes driver for 2018 at least.

While Vettel added another six points to his lead over Hamilton, Bottas has now closed to within 35 points of the championship leader. This is looking ever more like a genuine three-way title fight.

77 comments on “Second win for Bottas raises prospect of a three-way title fight”

  1. AntoineDeParis (@antoine-de-paris)
    9th July 2017, 21:33

    What a great season so far, it’s got everything you can imagine and even more ;)

    1. Michal (@michal2009b)
      9th July 2017, 23:14

      It’s another world compared to previous four years but if you look at some seasons from the V8 era it will be barely average. Still I will take it even if Austria or Russia is happening from time to time.

    2. This is why F1 as a whole is considered entertainment. If FOM wanted to they could have penalised Bottas for that start, sure they can use the regulations they have to say that it wasn’t, but at the same time the video evidence is there and they could have if they wanted to.

      Their decision gives us this headline; the prospect of a three-way title fight, and in turn your comment. It breeds excitement and interest.

      There were similar steward decisions last year with regards to track cutting that engineered the excitement of the final showdown. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it is what it is and I understand why they would do it. Personally I’m more excited by a naturally close competition with equitable rules that are the same for everyone on every day.

      If the championship were to be contested because the cars are in close competition with each other, then it would have everything I could imagine and even more. As it stands all I’m seeing is the same political and financial formula with the stewards giving a leg up to who they think needs it when the opportunity arises.

      I’m seriously longing to see how F1 shapes out in a few years time. I’m hoping against hope that the changes Brawn has planned brings the field together such that the excitement is natural and comes from the racing rather than the decisions surrounding it.

      1. PS. FIA not FOM, although potentially still correct.

        1. Tristan I’m sure you are related to D. Trump. The way you reel out alternative facts is staggering. Ignore the evidence and verdict and stick to your deluded guns. Psst. Up is down, black is white and truth is false.

      2. If FOM wanted to they could have penalised Bottas for that start, sure they can use the regulations they have to say that it wasn’t, but at the same time the video evidence is there and they could have if they wanted to.

        No they couldn’t. Giving Bottas a penalty would’ve been against the Sporting Regulations. The video evidence is completely irrelevant here, because according to the Sporting Regulations a start is a false start only if a transponder says so. A small movement of a car doesn’t make a start a false start according to the Sporting Regulations.

        1. We don’t know whether that transponder indicated there was movement before the start, we wouldn’t know if they said it did and it didn’t either.

          If they wanted to penalise Bottas for moving before the lights went out, they could have. They chose not to, just like they have chosen to penalise or not certain incidents in the past… It’s really not up for debate, this is their job.

          1. Mika Salo, the driver steward for this weekend confirmed that the transponder didn’t register any movement. The stewards came to a unanimous agreement that Bottas did not jump start therefore the can’t penalise him.

            The video evidence means nothing as that movement was caused by Bottas adjusting the clutch to the correct point, not releasing the clutch. If you have ever driven a manual car, you’ll know this can happen. The actuall start happened when the transponder picked up movement which was 0.201 seconds after the lights went out.

          2. The actual start happened when the transponder picked up movement which was 0.201 seconds after the lights went out.

            That just makes them sound incompetent. It’s entirely obvious he didn’t put the foot down .2 seconds after the lights went out regardless of what the transponder says.

            If they wanted to they could have decided to “take all the available data in to consideration” and penalise Bottas. As you say, they decided not to, whether it was the right thing to do so or not is irrelevant.

          3. Tristan:
            You’re missing the point. The point isn’t that the stewards weren’t allowed to use other data than that of a transponder. The point is that the definition of a false start in Formula One includes that the transponsder indicates a false start. Formula One is a sport and it has to follow its rules to be credible.

            Your opinion that the stewards should’ve made a decision against the Sporting Regulations and lie about transponder data just because they might not get caught is, in my opinion, appalling. And yet you are complaining above about politics in Formula One…

          4. @hotbottoms
            But the transponder was obviously not functioning correctly. It is simply not possible that Bottas started .2 seconds after the lights went out… It isn’t true that the definition of a false start includes a transponder, in fact the regulations say that a false start will be judged by using a transponder but doesn’t define what a false start is at all.

            Regulation 36.9 states:

            When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap, they will stop within their respective grid positions, keeping their engines running.

            There will be a standing start, the signal being given by means of lights activated by the
            permanent starter.

            So if you want to get technical Bottas would be in breach of this regulation as he wasn’t stopped within his position before the start, regardless of whether it was clutch play or not, he wasn’t stopped and started from a rolling position rather than a sanding start.

            Again, whether the stewards made the right decision or not is irrelevant, my point only is that I wish that F1 could be more exciting without such controversy.

          5. But the transponder was obviously not functioning correctly.

            That’s a first time I’ve heard anyone claiming that. No other team (or even Vettel) has claimed that. Why do you think the transponder wasn’t functioning correctly?

            It isn’t true that the definition of a false start includes a transponder

            It is. As you say, the only definition for a false start is that it is judged by a transponder supplied by FIA. I’m sure Formula One experts ( @keithcollantine ? :)) could find out how those transponders are set up and how they measure a false start. I’m quite sure that the transponder worked properly in this case, since no one (as far as I know) in Formula One has claimed otherwise.

            Regulation 36.9 states: […] So if you want to get technical Bottas would be in breach of this regulation as he wasn’t stopped within his position before the start

            That’s a good argument, I’ll give you that. However, there isn’t a penalty for ignoring that article, I believe. Only for a false start, which is judged by a transponder.

            my point only is that I wish that F1 could be more exciting without such controversy.

            It is. I don’t think this “controversy” has made Formula One any more interesting. If the stewards had given Bottas a penalty against the regulations, it would’ve caused huge controversy, which surely would’ve overshadowed the race itself.

        2. Just a question, can everyone/anyone else see the results of the transponder or just the FIA? i.e. is the process completely transparent or do we rely on the honesty of the FIA officials? The same question re data for things like “brake tests”, accidents, is there anywhere the general public can view the raw data?

      3. Like in Baku when the head steward said “We don’t want to influence the championship too much.”

    3. Ugh. Especially whiny fans unfortunately. They love getting on every driver’s case in an absolutely irrational manner. Sometimes it feels like they are purposefully trying to ruin the experience by trolling.

      1. Perhaps, quite honestly… I just don’t think it’s that great of a season compared to what it could be. Sorry to bring the mood down. I’ll get back in my box.

        Still excited to see if Vettel holds on to this lead, any points taken away from Hamilton regaining it is great :D Imagine if Bottas does overtake them both haha, now that would be one to remember and worth regardless of whatever’s needed to make it happen, perceived or not.

        1. yeah, get in there mate.

  2. Congrats to Bottas!! Excellent job. If Bottas wins this championship it will be something special.

  3. Valterri’s reaction…. I was watching the race between turns 3 and 4 (general admission). When the lights went out I was: Oh my… GOODNESS… You cannot get a better reaction time than that. I wonder if this was how he reacted in Sochi and in Azerbaijan because he seems to get better starts than Lewis… Today made me think whether he is superb in reacting because it is super important to have a good reaction time. 0.201 is insane. Quickest I have ever managed in a reaction time game is 0.297. But he had the same thing as in Sochi because he started on US and pulled away but on the SS, he had a hard time. As for Seb, screw yourself for not accepting that superb start by Valterri.
    I wonder if Lewis was playing mind games to Ricciardo by saying that he was struggling because after that message, and a few laps later, he closed down Ricciardo rapidly. As for his move, I even found it that he was too nice and unusual for him to battle like that.
    No more Ferrari wins allowed this season.

    1. Sad to say this, but it wasn’t reaction time… it was just luck, watch an high fps coverage to see yourself

      1. Mark Zastrow
        10th July 2017, 2:48

        It wasn’t just luck. The longer the lights are held, the better the odds that they go out at any given moment, so there’s a risk curve that everyone is aware of. It takes a bit of bravery to risk a penalty by trying to anticipate it like that.

        1. Paul's dad.
          10th July 2017, 9:36

          I think you’re both right, Mark and Stefano.
          It was a calculated risk. Bottas could not afford to be overtaken before turn 3, so he risked it. Even if he was penalized, he’d still have a better chance of winning than if he was overtaken by Vettel at the start.
          And by the way, Vettel didn’t accept it wasn’t a jump start but he did it in a joking manner, as far as I can tell.

    2. It was a jump start, he anticipated the red lights going out. Only that the stewards found out it was within rules. I play car sim games and I do that too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

      1. Paul's dad.
        10th July 2017, 9:36

        Exactly. And Vettel and Ricciardo know that too.

    3. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
      10th July 2017, 7:43

      According to Mika Salo who was one of race judges Bottas was NEGATIVE on start with -0.03 reaction time.He didnt punished because they alowe to be 0.10 Negative at start.

      1. Paul's dad.
        10th July 2017, 9:38

        Yup, I was under this impression as well. Sky’s commentators were all “oh, if it’s below 0.2 reaction time it’s considered a false start”, but bugger off! This has happened before and they always give a slight margin.
        If you jump the start on luck and manage to do it properly, good for you!

    4. “As for Seb, screw yourself for not accepting that superb start by Valterri.”

      If you are sitting where Seb was sitting, you will also question if Valtteri did jump the start. You will not be able to see 201ms from the cockpit.

    5. Is there anywhere we can see the reaction time of all the drivers? for all of the races?

  4. Tom (@newdecade)
    9th July 2017, 21:54

    Ehh I wouldn’t get too excited about the championship fight just yet. Remember in 2013 how everyone started rumbling about a Hamilton charge for the title after Hungary? Look how that turned out. Bottas needs to start beating Lewis on pace more often and also keep his nose a bit cleaner in the starts, he’s had a lot of first lap contact this year.

    1. AntoineDeParis (@antoine-de-paris)
      9th July 2017, 22:15

      “Remember in 2013 how everyone started rumbling about a Hamilton charge for the title after Hungary?”

      For me 2013 was a season of Merc great quali performance and Lewis claiming RBR prolly use traction control based on Vettel’s racing lines. Quite disrespectful thing, almost as disrespectful as Alonso towards Seb all the time.

      1. Paul's dad.
        10th July 2017, 9:44

        And just to clarify, did everyone eventually come to their senses that those “traction control racing lines” were just drive-train oscillations likes the ones that happen in my FWD Citroen Saxo?

        1. Webber never had the same occilations…

    2. Michal (@michal2009b)
      9th July 2017, 23:18

      Hard to see Vettel or Hamilton steamrolling like Seb in 2013 so a fight between them is very very likely. Bottas is only 15 points off his team-mate and hasn’t been always lucky either (Spain) so sometimes he can play a role. But still on a good day for Lewis he is one-third of a second behind and that must change. At least he is consistent and bringing Mercedes points.

    3. Except for the championship leader being in Ferrari and the other team Mercedes being the fastest now, sure, right, exactly like 2013 lol.

      Bottas seriously has issues in first laps. He’s always diving down the inside or doing rocket launches before the lights go out etc. At least he seems on par in quali and race results more or less with 5 to 4.

  5. It started bad, but now really awesome. I cannot remember, did he also lead every lap?

    So Pole, Win in full control for the duration of the race.

    Time to go vote on DOTW.

    1. He didn’t, Räikkönen was first for at least 1 lap.

    2. not every lap, kimi was left to block him for a lap or two in front which failed… only pole and win, fast lap/record goes ham… kimi lead 1-2 laps i think, so he couldnt get that trophy…

    3. Andre Furtado
      11th July 2017, 0:47

      I don’t know if anyone mentioned this or not. But Keith if Bottas gets in the mix that can only benefit Vettel as Hamilton loses the extra help and Raikkonen helps Vettel. Not even counting the extra tension inside the team.

  6. If Bottas can consistently beat Vettle then it’s over for Ferrari. I think at this point Mercedes is clearly way faster than Ferrari.

    1. Well, if Seb remains consistent in Top 2 finishes, what Bottas is doing is just going to dilute the points between himself and Lewis, which in turn helps Seb more.

      No, I would not say Mercedes is faster than Ferrari.

      They both have tracks which are faster than one another.

      1. @ruchern Quite the opposite here. Bottas just took 7 points away from Vettel, which is to Lewis’s benefit when he’s not in the running for the win. Maximum damage limitation, much like Baku. If Lewis can’t win, let it be Bottas.

  7. All this “sharing” the winning betwen Botas and Lewis is actualy good for Seb. Mercedes will get the constructors championship, but the driver one us still open. Seb does not need to win that often if Bottas and Lewis keeps stealing points from each other.

  8. In this season, this evolving 3-way fight actually favours Vettel….if it really evolves that is. Bottas should now no that he has a shot and will compete with his teammate on equal terms, if allowed. Vettel on the other hand is now far enough away from Raikkonen to be confident of beating his teammate in most races.

    1. Bottas has been used to help Hamilton in 2 races. As things stand Merc cannot do this for a race or 2 if Hamilton pulls a gap on him. So far Merc have won 5 races split 60/40 between drivers. If Ferrari win 5 it is likely it will be 100/0 to Vettel v Raikkonen. Ferrari do not need team orders as Vettel is a lot faster than Kimi. Merc are hot favourites for constructors but drivers is in Ferraris favour unless 1 Merc driver puts a clear points advantage over their teammate.

    2. If Bottas were like kimi, Seb would have been at least 40 points ahead in this championship.

      Since the Mercedes’ drivers are more likely to have a 1 – 2 and the fact that one driver is always there to pick up the pieces when the other driver has a bad weeknd, I can’t see how this can be good to Vettel.

      He seriously needs kimi to pick up the pace to help him otherwise It’s going be very difficult for him to keep his championship hopes alive.

      If weren’t for bad reliability the two Mercedes’ drivers would have being very close if not in front of Vettel in this championship.

      1. Since the Mercedes’ drivers are more likely to have a 1 – 2 and the fact that one driver is always there to pick up the pieces when the other driver has a bad weeknd, I can’t see how this can be good to Vettel.

        Let me explain.

        The fact that now Bottas is motivated ( and Raikkonen isn’t) virtually makes it certain that Mercedes will win the WCC. There is nothing that Ferrari can do about it and they probably know it.

        But WDC is a different story. Vettel has not really needed Raikkonen’s help thus far and so it is quite likely that he’ll be getting close to, in-between or even ahead of the two Mercs in the races to come. Hamilton and Bottas will be competing with not only Vettel but against each other as well and might take away points from one another if it remains close. That could benefit Vettel in the same way as Raikkonen benefitted 10 years ago when Alonso and Hamilton were at McLaren.

    3. This was the situation from Australia. Raikkonen was always Ferrari number 2. In spirit and motivation, if not in fact (contractually).

      Does that really favour Vettel though? I’m not so sure. Bottas prevented Vettel from being even further ahead of Hamilton today. If Hamilton can win races, having Bottas performing well enough for second is a bonus. On balance I’d say Vettel is in a weaker position.

      However it’s now two races on the run that mechanical issues have messed up Hamilton’s race weekend. I’d be more worried about that than by Bottas, or Vettel.

      1. I’m sorry, but where’s the evidence that Ferrari favoured Vettel from the start of the season? There have been more times this season where Merc have clearly favoured Hamilton over Bottas, than Vettel over Raikkonen. The fact that Hamilton requested Bottas slow down and back Vettel up in Baku clearly shows he is the No 1 at Merc, to ask such a thing so boldly. Heck, even the second race of the season in China, Vettel risked his whole race trying to pass Kimi on merit. I agree Ferrari have very recently begun to support Vettel over Raikkonen, but his seems more to do with:
        a) In response to what Mercedes are doing with their drivers
        b) Vettel has a massive margin over Kimi before even 50% of the championship is through. Something which is easily in Kimi’s hands if he really was on par with Vettel over a race distance

        1. I didn’t say Ferraru favoured Vettel, I said Raikkonen was effectively number 2 from the outset due to being less motivated and usually slower than Vettel. There are suggestions Vettel is contractually number 1, but I’ve no idea if they’re true. And besides performance makes it unnecessary – like you said, Vettel’s performance margin has already secured that status.

    4. @loup-garou It helps a driver points-wise against their rivals if their teammates are quick, as they take points off their rivals as well. If both Massa and Webber had not raced in 2012, Alonso would have been the Champion. Same in 2010 I believe.

      1. @mashiat You forgot Grosjean :)

    5. @loup-garou
      Here is how many points more Vettel and Hamilton would have if Bottas had finished behind both of them in every race:

      Vettel: 20 points more
      – Russia 7
      – Canada 3
      – Azerbaijan 3
      – Austria 7

      Hamilton: 11 points more
      – Russia 3
      – Monaco 2
      – Azerbaijan 3
      – Austria 3

      And here is how many points Hamilton and Vettel would have more if Räikkönen had finished behind both of them in every race:

      Vettel: 0 points
      – Vettel has won Räikkönen in every race so far.

      Hamilton: 5 points
      – Russia 3
      – Monaco 2

      So all in all, Vettel has lost 20 points because of Räikkönen and Bottas while Hamilton has lost 16 points. The difference isn’t much at the moment, but it certainly seems that having a competitive team mate is more of an asset than a liability to Hamilton in his battle against Vettel. Of course a third contender for the championship makes the championship battle harder for Hamilton in itself, but it’s the same for Vettel also.

  9. I truly like Kimi as a cult but he is the problem here. If Bottas truly comes into play, Vettel won’t have an buffer, it will be an uneven fight. Especially since the Ferrari only beats the Mercedes on slow, twisty sections where the temps are high enough not to upset the grip with harder tyres, Ferrari needed a late braker or a guy that can handle the rear well through slow corners to exploit the Mercedes lack of grip through slow corners. Kimi isn’t up to that task for most of the year. So especially if you see the calender, Ferrari will need some rain because they’ll only beat the Mercs on dry pace in Hungary, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

    If Kimi continues this, and I think he will, consider this Hamilton’s title already.
    There are 4 options to avoid this.
    1. Red Bull come into play starting in Singapore.
    2. The Asian peninsula gets an early typhoon season where Ferrari benefit from their higher car balance where Mercedes can’t get the tyres in the sweet spot because Pirelli keeps messing with the Tyre pressures.
    3. Honda comes into play. This is serious, the gap between RB and FI is almost a 1 sec per lap.
    4. Give Kimi a more car aggressive development and use him as a nr 2. to go longer and back the Mercs up into him as the Mercs will continue to have more problems with dirty air.

    1. And no I don’t consider Bottas a true contender THIS season. He is too inconsistent. His history at Williams showed how great and poor he can be. The other reason he is so close now in the standings is because the (lack of) performance of RB and Honda, like shown in Bahrain and Monaco.

      1. Paul's dad.
        10th July 2017, 9:59

        Hum… Can I point out that Bottas’ average race result is 3rd (2.75), where he’s finished 5 times within 1 place of that (63%), whereas Hamilton’s average race result is 3rd, and he’s finished only 4 times within 1 place of that (44%). If you discard Hamilton’s worst race result, which was probably no fault of his, his average improves to 2.5, but he still finished 1st or below 4th four times, which doesn’t make him more CONSISTENT than Bottas.

        I’m pretty sure Bottas has been more consistent this season, but of course the statistical sample is too small to draw any actual conclusions. Which means you might be right, but I haven’t seen that, personally. If I had to go with my gut feeling, I’d say Hamilton is as inconsistent as ever.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          10th July 2017, 11:14

          I’d also say Bottas has been possibly a little more consistent. But Hamilton had clearly been better overall, but not by quite as much as many seem to be thinking IMO. Bottas has also had a better average qualifying position than Hamilton too. One thing to point out is that Bottas is the only driver on the grid to have managed 3rd or higher every qualifying session. Considering that there are now 2 teams that are very are fairly even a lot of the time, this is quite an impressive stat to have. If it continues, I’d say it will be just as impressive as Rosberg managing a front row start last year every time.

          The comparison between them in order of the qualifying sessions this year:
          Hamilton: 1 1 2 4 1 14 1 1 3 Average position: 3.1
          Bottas: 3 3 1 3 3 3 3 2 1 Average position: 2.4

          I can see that Hamilton much more often gets higher positions and Bottas very often gets 3rd. But on a couple of occasions, Hamilton has got lower than 3rd, one time being far lower. I still think it is clear than Hamilton is better, But Bottas seems more consistent. And a lot of his 3rd places have been an absolutely tiny fraction of a second off 2nd or sometimes 1st.
          Such as in Australia, he was 0.025 off Vettel who was 2nd.
          In China, he was 0.001 of Vettel who was 2nd.
          In Russia, he was 3rd and 0.95 off Vetttel who was 1st and 0.036 off Kimi who was 2nd. Where as Hamilton was 0.478 seconds off Bottas in 4th.
          In Monaco, Hamilton seemed to be struggling to put a lap together in Q2. He kept backing off when he didn’t get the perfect lap even though it will have been enough to get him through. This resulted in him getting 14th. Bottas was 3rd and 0.045 off off Kimi in 1st and 0.002 off Vettel in 2nd. So close!
          Although Bottas managed 2nd in Canada, He wasn’t anywhere close to Hamilton that day. 0.718 off Hamilton.
          He was also a fair way off in Baku too even though he was 2nd. 0.434 behind Hamilton this time. Bottas’s pole in Bahrain wasn’t well above Hamilton but his one in Austria was a reasonable bit faster at 0.173.

          I think that overall, this shows that Bottas is very good at qualifying and not that far off Hamilton. His biggest mistake during a race this year was probably in the start of China as that was totally his own fault. Hamilton’s mistake in qualifying in Monaco actually cost him more than this. Both Hamilton have had good and not so good races. But overall, I do think Bottas has been just slightly more consistent, But Hamilton overall has clearly been better.

          1. Great analysis. While I agree with most of your analysis, my point is that during the times that the Mercedes was favoured or he had the chance to snap the maximum out of it, he does really well, that’s correct, but he isn’t near perfection, he doesn’t demotivate his opponents like Lewis did, Lewis actually forced Nico to retire because of his sheer dominance over the years.

            Bottas… he leaves room for his opponent by not maximizing but just being a correct driver: he keeps qualifying excellent and surprisingly runs quite poor race stints in the same weekend. Those small margins aren’t demotivating to others. In Russia and Austria he won on a basis of Ferrari not getting the balance right with one tyre-compound. He was there and Lewis wasn’t but Vettel doesn’t get a chance to say ”one more lap” to Lewis. Call it pseudoscience, we already saw that the drivers play mental games with each-other, so don’t underestimate this.

            Hamilton in Canada, in China, in Baku until the ‘headrestgate”, Lewis dominated. He demotivated.
            That is what Bottas needs to be before he comes into play.

    2. I agree. Vettel seems out on his own. Bottas may receive extra motivation from winning again and can clearly beat Hamilton when the latter has one of his off weekends. But he’s shown that when motivated, which is most of the time, he’ll win comfortably. In which case Bottas helps his cause.

    3. nelson piquet
      10th July 2017, 8:47

      if ferrari needs a late breaker i reckon grosjean or sainz

  10. I think I’ll wait a bit more to consider Bottas as a championship contender. It’s still very much between Lewis and Seb.

    But Mercedes has the upper hand I think. Their car is coming together nicely as the season goes by, and they have two drivers capable of taking points off Seb if one of them isn’t up to it, like in Russia and here. Kimi is letting the team down on that basis, he’s never in the fight to even capitalize on other’s problems. Be it the car, team decisions or his own lack of speed, I think it’s going to bite Ferrari come the end of the season.

    I hope Red Bull keeps the momentum. To be this close at a power circuit considering their start of the season sure bonds well for the rest of the season. Maybe they start to get in the fight, messing up the order at the top and heavily influencing the championship. It’d be great!

  11. @xiasitlo
    Hamilton is too strong in hungary, unless he has mechanical problem or messes up start, i dont see hungary as Ferrari race… Also in Rain, Mercedes is not a bad car, and certainly Ham is no slouch in Rain either… So dont see Rain as a chance… it is more of a lottery for anyone, when it comes and how it comes…

  12. @xiasitlo also for kimi to do what you suggest, he needs to start delivering, and keeping up with the front… he gets left behind quite often, and isnt close enough to jump ahead leaders who finish pitting… not so far… also as in today, if he gets the chance, he has no tires left to fight anyone…

  13. Has Lewis donated his LaFerrari yet. A car he didn’t deserve seeing as he was never a true Ferrari fan. Why keep a car of a company you don’t respect, you clampit.

    15 points Lewis… Behind you, not in front.

    1. Being beaten by a inferior car must be harsh. In my eyes you’re a one time world champion. No engine to save you now Senna Jr.

      1. You seem mad Ace… Hamilton steal your lunch or what?

  14. The bottas vs Vettel championship should be interesting. Lewis is doing a 2011. I heard Rob Kardashian called it off

    1. what is that you are smoking girl?

  15. The word reaction implies Bottas reacted to the lights going out lol. He must have used up all of his luck when the lights really did go out after he released the clutch.

    I wonder if Mercedes will let us see a three-way fight though. They’ve been already making decisions favoring Hamilton. Had it been Hamilton who was ahead in Bahrain and given the team orders, he would not have let Bottas get ahead and take those points. When you look at how close they are in points table, these things matter a lot. If Bottas keeps behaving the way he do while Hamilton does his own thing since Mercedes always talk sternly but don’t do anything about Hamilton violating team orders anyway, Bottas will hardly stay in that fight let alone win it.

    In the meantime Mercedes have become clearly the fastest car.

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      10th July 2017, 10:39

      Hamilton complained of poor balance and suggested he’d added too much front wing… Was this a ruse to dupe Red Bull into telling Ricciardo to ease off?

      @keithcollantine The team will have added the wing Keith ;-)

      I doubt it was a ruse, his tyres were already badly marked by that point. Hamilton had been compromised from the moment he incurred the grid penalty – from that point the team took off wing to give him a greater speed advantage on the short straights, making an already treacherous track even harder to negotiate, spoiling the set-up balance (Hamilton had looked quickest up to that point) and increasing tyre wear. He went into qualifying with a compromised set-up and a compromised tyre strategy. He drove most of the race on badly blistered tyres.

      In a race where Red Bull was on pace with the top two teams, Hamilton surged from 8th to 4th – deposing Raikkonen en route. He had a bit of luck with Verstappen’s retirement, of course, but this was a battling drive from someone willing to test the life expectancy of the tyres beyond their prudent limits, in a car which wasn’t handling well.

      Great drives from Bottas, especially during his first stint, Vettel for chasing him down and Ricciardo for defending 3rd place. Three teams finished within 7 seconds of one another after driving flat out for 71 laps, I hope it remains this competitive for the remainder of the season.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      10th July 2017, 19:53

      You seem to make it sound like Bottas behaving the way he does had affected him. Well the only race it could potentially have done so was Baku. It was a racing incident in Spain and he did nothing wrong here in Austria either. Even the start in Baku was a 50 – 50 clash. So Bottas taking the same risks he has been doing in other races will hardly affect him as they haven’t really affected his results so far. If he was clearly been to blame for any of his incidents, he’d have got a penalty, which he hasn’t had any of.

  16. lewis should have won in baku and he’ll probably win at silverstone unless he has more penalties or mechanical issues.
    so please calm down people.
    if lewis win at silverstone,you’ll go back to saying bottas isnt good enough.
    it always makes me smile seeing how OTT people are after lewis has a bad weekend.

  17. lewis car set up was is probably what stopped him from being quicker in quali.
    i mean he knew he’d be starting from atleast 6th,so his setup was to try and make it faster in the straights,but it didnt work out.
    lewis will get pole and the win at silverstone no problem.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      10th July 2017, 20:14

      I think that is a bit of an excuse. Hamilton’s car being set up won’t have been set up incorrectly. If anything it may possibly have been set up for the race. But I think that was unlikely. Even if that was the case, it can’t be responsible for making him slip all over the place. As he didn’t do that in the race did he? Those were just mistakes that I’m certain would have happened anyway. But he yet again repeated the same big mistake in turn 1 on his 2nd attempt, then backed off. Vettel also made a mistake on the 1st corner on his 2nd attempt. On Bottas’s 2nd attempt, he got the 1st corner very nearly perfect, but both him and Vettel needed to back off. I think it was most likely that Bottas will have been able to improve his time enough that Vettel wouldn’t have beaten him if the times continued.

      I think people are what you call OTT about Hamilton’s poor weekends is because he is often considered to be the best driver. And he’s had 3 weekends where he certainly hasn’t been anywhere as impressive as he has on others. I still believe he is one of the best, but he doesn’t seem to be quite as consistent this year. For example in qualifying, his team mate (who is considered to be quite a bit worse than Hamilton) has always started in the top 3 which no other driver has done, Hamilton may have many more poles, but he’s also started below the top 3 twice. And well below in qualifying in Monaco. Resulting in Bottas’s average qualifying position being 2.4 and Hamilton’s being 3.1. I know that Hamilton is better, but he really cost himself in Monaco, which resulted in a worse finishing position than any Bottas has had without having to retire. I know that Hamilton is capable of being better than he has been several times, so I don’t think he’s doing the best job this year including every race. Overall, I think that Vettel has been the best driver when we look at everything.

  18. I don’t buy that yet.
    Hamilton lost 15 points due to that unbelievable problem on Baku, and at least another 6 (he was not going to beat Bottas’s pole time, but had the pace to undercut Vettel easily on the race. And maybe overtake Bottas since his last stint was way worse) with the gearbox change.

    Bottas was really strong on the 2 races he won and nowhere else. The 3rd place is already his, but he is not taking part on this title fight. That is as clear as a day for me.

  19. I’m pretty sure for the next race they won’t wait too much before they let the red lights go out :D

  20. Considering that Bottas has been asked to help Hamilton is 4 different occasions I don’t think Mercedes will support his title bid.
    In Baku I thought it was tragic that the stewards only awarded Vettel a penalty on the spot, after being forced to ask Hamilton to stop for his misfortune.
    This weekend I think it’s tragic that Bottas didn’t get a jump start penalty during the race or afterwards after the video footage shows he moved 3 mini frames before the lights. I understand that there’s margin of error on the movement and also the distance to the yellow line where the transponder is calibrated, but the video does not lie. The Fia’s excuse is laughable as it encourages from now on for everybody to align their cars before the yellow line and jump start in order to gain momentum before the lights go out and before the yellow line as it’s only after the yellow line that a jump start is awarded.

  21. Three way ..Great news for Vettel when he comes third and sees the mercs.1st and 2nd.but in a different order at different races !

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