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In the spotlight: Bottas dreams of 2017 F1 world title, but still has “a lot to prove”
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Valtteri Bottas
Posted By: Editor   |  15 Feb 2017   |  6:54 am GMT  |  285 comments

As we count down towards the start of the new F1 season the spotlight falls on a few drivers and teams who have something to prove this year. We will reflect that in a series of articles in the coming weeks.

We start with the man who replaces the retired world champion; it’s going to be a big year for Valtteri Bottas, the driver signed by Mercedes race alongside triple world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Notwithstanding the comment of McLaren boss Eric Boullier yesterday at a Pirelli event that “I’m not so sure that the Mercedes is still the team to beat”, Bottas steps into a car that carries the DNA of models that have dominated the last three seasons of F1, winning 51 races in three seasons But these are new rules, new bodywork, wider new tyres and -potentially – a new playing field.

Bottas has started 77 F1 races since Williams promoted him at the start of the 2013 season, and he scored nine podiums and 411 points for the Grove-based team during his subsequent four-year stint.

Although the new rules and aero dominated cars could change F1’s established pecking order, Mercedes is still widely expected to challenge for a fourth successive double, and Hamilton is gunning for a fourth title of his own after losing out to Rosberg last season.

All of this – plus knowing that the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso could potentially be on the move from their current teams if results don’t work out for them at the end of this year – puts pressure on Bottas.

His compatriot, former F1 driver Mika Salo, described Bottas’ situation as “very difficult”, while Anthony Hamilton warned the 27-year-old that competing against his son could be a “career-ending move”.

Valtteri Bottas

But Bottas is not fazed: “If the car is the strongest, yes [I can challenge for the championship],” he told Sky Sports. “I’m not here to be in second place or worse. It is definitely a challenge, and going up against Lewis is always going to be a challenge.

“But for me, it’s a massive opportunity. Everything is still ahead, so it’s going to be an exciting year.”

“I feel it is possible – Nico showed beating Lewis is possible – but I really respect what he has done with his career. He has so many poles, wins – three titles – and I still don’t have a race win. I have a lot to prove.”

One of the key battlegrounds will be qualifying. Bottas outqualified Felipe Massa in the last years at Williams, but not convincingly and against Hamilton he will have to be on his A Game every time, as Rosberg generally was.

Even on an off day, the Mercedes pair always had a margin over the rest, but if it is much more competitive this season, then there will be other cars creeping in ahead if a Mercedes driver drops a tenth or two on a qualiying lap.

Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, has said the team can assess Bottas’ progress after four races, which will be the Australian, Chinese, Bahrain and Russian events in 2017.

Valtteri Bottas

The Finn has a good record at all of those venues and has only failed to score points from that collection of events on two occasions since 2014 – when he injured his back and did not start in Australia in 2015 and when he was punted out of third place by Kimi Raikkonen at the Russian Grand Prix that same season.

Russia, which will be the fourth race of 2017, is likely to be one of Bottas’ strongest tracks of the season. He possesses an enviable record at the Sochi circuit – three consecutive third place grid spots for Williams – and has already been tipped to open his Mercedes, and F1, win account there.

Assuming Mercedes’ F1 dominance continues – and Red Bull could well be in the hunt given the new, heavily aero dependent rules coming into effect for this season – and Bottas was able to come out of the first four races with one win to three for Hamilton, he would still be in a strong position.

Valtteri Bottas

After all, Rosberg took the 2014 title fight down to the wire – aided somewhat by the double-points finale that season – after scoring one win from the first four races.

How do you rate Bottas’ chances for the 2017 F1 season? Do you think he will be able to mount a title challenge? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

I read [elsewhere] that Bottas has requested a meeting with Rosberg, and that Rosberg had declared he would be strictly neutral and certainly wouldn't be giving up any of his secrets of how to beat Hamilton. I had a chuckle when I read one of the comments from another reader. I have copied his remarks below:

Hmmm, secrets for Valtteri. What can they be? Lemme see....

1. Lewis will get very angry if you cheat. That may make him overdive qualy for a few races.

2. He is master of the cutback. Best to stay straight and alongside way past the apex, then claim you turned the wheel really hard. Don't waste this trick on other guys tho, or the stewards will wise up to it.

3. If you put yourself on the outside and level on corner exit he will ease you off, like you do to him.

4. If you can cut his tyre 3 miles from the pits it's race over for him, but a few extra seconds for you even if it costs you an endplate.

5. You never know when a brake test might be worth a punt, especially if there's a car right behind him.

6. If you make a mistake that gives him a run on you, watch your mirrors and swerve.

6. Hang in there! You never know when a long run of luck might come your way.

7. Quit while you're ahead, if that should ever happen. By phone is okay.

8. PS don't beat him dude, I want it to look like he's amazing yet I learned not to let him walk all over me. And don't cheat whatever you do, you don't have the dad for it.

2

Haha, that's about right. I find Rosberg's whole "I had to get more aggressive" spiel strange, considering his chops on Hamilton and Alonso at Bahrain 2012, Germany '13, Mirabeau '14, Canada '14, Spa '14, Russia '15, etc. He was already plenty aggressive, just usually in a ham-handed fashion.

I can't imagine that Mercedes would want Bottas to act like Rosberg did. Rosberg's tricks if you like, were only beneficial to him because he was in an intra-team fight with a car clearly ahead of all others.

3

You're right KRB. This season it's unlikely Merc will have the same margin over the rest of the field (if any margin at all - depending on who gets the new reg's right) so Merc will want to ensure they don't waste any opportunities.

4

Capt. Dull will have his work cut out to become Capt Bright and Shiny. To date i haven't seen anything that would indicate that he's anything other than ordinary. True, he hasn't had exactly what one would call a 'contender. to drive but even so his performances have been somewhat lacklustre. He may just turn the 'wick' up and we'll get to see some spectacular driving that will put hamilton into the shade but i somehow doubt it. He also has hamilton's dad anthony exhibiting arrogance to cope with as well. The outcome will be interesting to observe but if i am to make any forecast i'd have to say that it will be a walkover for hamilton and the mercedes team. Where hottas finishes up is anyones guess.

5

hamilton's dad anthony exhibiting arrogance to cope with as well.....

If Ham seniors relatively innocuous remarks were enough to derail Bottas, then he might as well pack up now. I'm pretty sure Bottas is a good bit tougher than that. But , as you say, we will see. I just found it amusing that Ros was implying he had some sort of secret he could pass on - but was choosing not too .

6

Rosberg ain't got no secret! He barely limped to the finish line with a 5 point WDC win! Hamilton's DNF's were the secret! lol

7

Were Hamilton Sr's comments arrogant? Don't you have to place them alongside the comments he made before the 2015 season, where he said that Lewis was hard to beat, but that no one was unbeatable, and that Nico just had to find the right way? Might he just be telling it as he sees it?

If we look at Lewis' teammates, we see that Alonso left after 1 season alongside Lewis, Kovalainen was thrown to the backmarkers after 2 seasons, and Rosberg has been vocal in saying the sacrifices he needed to make to beat Hamilton (and only just beat him, with a tremendous amount of luck in there too) were such that he didn't want to make them again. Button I believe is the only teammate whose reputation was enhanced, over their paddock reputation prior to teaming up. There though, it's a feeling that McLaren backed the wrong pony, seeing Button's results at McLaren post-Lewis.

It's not like Hamilton was just giving has-beens a final push off the ledge either. Every teammate he's had has been in their prime years (which I count as 26-32). Now again with 27 yr old Bottas.

8

Just for once I totally agree Kenneth.
Is that a typo in the last sentence lol ?
Unlike his compatriots, the 2 Finns who made the wdc, Valteri is not so "cool".....

9

I don't know the context of Ham snr's comments...could very easily have been beaten up by the media?
I will say this though, with Vet and Alo seemingly available at the end of 2017, the only way Bottas will keep his job is if he beats Ham, or at least creates a narrative that's bigger than Ham v Vet or Ham v Alo (the sequel) in 2018.
In that context, Ham Snr is right....there is really only one door for him at the end of the season.
Ironically, he may have a better chance to keep the seat if somehow RB and Ferrari leapfrog MB in 2017, and Mclaren is closer -thus reducing MB's appeal to Vet and Alo....

10

@ Phil [my] Glass...Que?

11

C63, very funny! All Valterri needs to do of course is nobble Lewis' car for three or four races and hey presto, the championship is in the bag!

12

nobble Lewis' car...

I thought it was Ham's lack of preparation and distraction with his off circuit life which caused the car to break down 😉

13

C63, I wasn't aware that the link between going off road motorcycling with Justin Bieber and MGUH failure had been scientifically proven....

14

You are correct, insofar as there is no actual scientific evidence, but it is a widely accepted theory held by the ALHFC or bashers as they often referred too. There can be any amount of wins, poles etc but one poor race or even a mechanical breakdown will held up as irrefutable proof that he isn't concentrating/preparing or is distracted. It's a strange sort of science though as this standard is not applied equally across all drivers 😉

15

C63, I guess the big problem with proving the link is it always seems to fail the repeatability test. Lewis gets photographed with a celebrity in the week before a race he doesn't win, and the ALHFC will point to his "lack of focus" and use the photo as proof, but then he might get snapped with someone else the next week, and win the next race!

16

Reckon Bottas "has more chance of platting fog" as they say in East Midlands , than he has of winning a World Championship.
Glad Rosbergs staying neutral. Still rather odd him winning best improved Laureus award...but then it's his home team Monaco. Nothing like nepotism from the Monaco Rinse...I mean Prince.

17

Rosberg winning that has to be the work of Prince Albert. Leicester City was the easy choice there. LCFC won the title by actually beating the top teams straight up, over 38 games. When Leicester went to Man City and beat them 3-1, M.C. didn’t have to start the game with 8 players.

That's what Rosberg did. His car was such that he only had to beat his teammate. Then his car ran clean while his teammate's didn't. Half the grid would prevail given those circumstances.

Compare that to LCFC, whose accomplishment was a truly once-in-a-lifetime feat, and it's no contest. It's not the first award that's caused raised eyebrows, and it won't be the last. This is the Laureus' equivalent of Tomei winning for My Cousin Vinny.

18

I often think that some of these awards are given to the wrong person. That's the problem with a 'contest' which is judged; the result will always be open to debate as it's opinion.
I had a similar thought when Suzi Wolff was honoured with an MBE - that's the same as both Lewis and Jenson have and they have 4 world championships between them - what's Suzi achieved in comparison? Even sillier (imo) is Claire Williams who has an MBE - this is a higher ranked award than an OBE - what has she done apart from being lucky enough to be Franks daughter? I don't hold any animosity towards her (or Suzi) but what have they done really to deserve those honours?

19

sorry, I've just re-read my comment and I've got it the wrong way round. Claire has an OBE and that is higher ranked than an MBE.

20

C63 MBA OBE Are not awards like some grading system of a Martial Arts body.
You are mistaken on that account.
These awards are actually awarded by nomination. Most of the time they are pencilled in by the political party that are governing Parliament with a majority (via the honours list which is handed to the Royal office). Most likely she was awarded hers as she is a prominent head of a F1 racing team and a "woman" too. That's probably an indication that the Prime Minister is also a woman (🎵Sisters are doing it for themselves🎶). So they are a political statement. There are people who set themselves to get the full house of awards CBE MBE OBE KBE and so on...they are usually also part of the social elite. You never hear much about them until they are plonked in the House of Lords awaiting a build up of cob webs and a scattering of shoulder dust.
Besides you don't see many sportsman ending their names with their titles. Except those who feel the need..usually retired and full of themselves...enter J Stewart.

21

The honours are awarded, ostensibly, in recognition of a particular achievement or service to the community and they are ranked in the following descending order; KBE/DBE, CBE, OBE and MBE. You are correct that people are nominated for the award but it has several committees which have to approve it before the award is given - you cannot just fill in a form and that's the end of it. Did you know there are consultants who can 'assist' in obtaining an award? Seems fair!

The point I was trying to make is that the final say on whether the award is given is down to the opinion of others - in this instance committees - rather than a straight race. It's subjective not objective. And the logic of Claire Williams , a deputy Team Principal, receiving a higher award than a world champion driver (bearing in mind her Dad owns the team) seems to rather distort the logic of the way the system is supposed to work. IMO.

22

Joe Saward did a bit on this recently:

https://joesaward.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/on-the-subject-of-honours/

He makes solid points.

23

I agree - I read the same article a while back. If I recall correctly he got a bit of stick on twitter from a female (wannabe) journalist who was accusing him of all sorts of 'isms' .

24

C63, it certainly seems as though winning a few games of tennis is a much easier route to getting a knighthood than F1 world championships....

25

In fairness Tim, if you put both feats into context, Murray plays in an era with 3 of the all time greatest players in the history of tennis so his achievements are elevated. And he doesn't have a racket advantage over the other players!

26

Ok, but if Stan Wawrinka was British, would he qualify for a knighthood also? He's won 3 Grand Slams, the same as Murray, in the time of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. I can't even find what Murray is in the all-time lists (all-time, or Open era lists), because they usually stop after 5 Grand Slams.

Found it ... he's joint 18th in terms of Grand Slams in the Open era, with 4 others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam_singles_champions_in_Open_Era_with_age_of_first_title

In the all-time lists, he's joint 39th!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam_related_tennis_records#Men_2

That's worth an OBE and knighthood? If anything, it just shows how starved of success Britain has been in tennis, that any is rewarded to such an extent. It wreaks of "good for a Brit" gauging, instead of for being the best of the best in their sport.

27

He is a better player than many above him on that list, just the timing of his birth a tad unfortunate. Federer is widely regarded as the greatest in history, Nadal and Djokovic not far behind. For Murray to win anything whilst that trio exist is a big achievement.
I do agree with your last point though.

28

"He is a better player than many above him on that list ..."

There's no way of testing, and thus knowing that. Same could be said for any driver now having to go up against Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. You gotta beat the best to be the best.

29

No if you're being especially anal then I suppose there isn't. If you follow the sport though it is brought up quite regularly with many ex players holding the same view.

30

I follow tennis, that was my primary sport growing up. Murray to me is like Courier. He could beat the likes of Sampras and Agassi, but they won more often. Murray lacks in mental toughness compared to the Big 3, but has been better of late in that category. He needs to capitalize this year as Djokovic seems to be in a bit of a funk recently.

31

Fair enough, to be honest I've never been Murray's biggest fan either but feel he deserves credit for competing with the Big 3 . I have a feeling Djokovic will struggle to return to his unbeatable form of the last few years and tournaments will be more open than they have been for a while (like Oz open). Hopefully Federer and Nadal can stay fit and healthy for a few more seasons, I thoroughly enjoyed watching those 2 legends slug it out for the Oz open!

32

You gotta beat the best....

Funnily enough I caught the tale end of a programme at the weekend; Legends of F1, and they were chatting to Eddie Irvine (odd choice given the title of the programme). He was saying that since the days of telemetry it's been much harder for the best drivers to dominate in the way they used too. In the old days a slower driver had no real idea where he was losing time but now they look at the telemetry and realise they need to brake slightly later, take a different gear/line etc and it makes the average driver look better and closes the gap. He suggested the lack of telemetry flattered the likes of JYS for instance, and whilst he considered him to be a great driver he didn't believe he would fare so well in todays world.

33

NickH
So now it's Lewis and Mercedes fault that the other teams missed the boat on development. Nobody was banging on about that when Red Bull were getting away with flexi wings and back drafting engine gases and engine mapping. How on earth those wings passed is still dodgy. In slow motion they were flapping like a swan taking off, the stewards must have had too many Red Bulls.
Besides Murray also had a bit of luck that some of the top seeds fell short. But it was well deserved for Murray to get his knighthood.
Most sportsman/woman get the big awards in their retirement years.
I prefer the Royal Gongs go to the Military people on the ground level the Doctors and Nurses the members of public that make a difference in society . I've yet to see children awarded any of these gongs, who look after a sick parent and spend their childhood caring for their siblings. These children deserve a break and need recognition of their sacrifices. Isolated from other peer groups they miss out on the most important part of growing up being a child.
C63
So all in all Royal Gongs are mostly unmerited (with the odd exceptions) and political statements of the presiding government . It's not a competition C63 on what's got bigger value...that's just your perception.

34

Couldn't help but smile at these 'comments from another reader', in fairness he could have taken the official minutes of the meeting and this was the summary!

35

Okay, Bottas has a number of challenges heading into the new season for not only is he joining a new team but also, he will be joining Lewis who is statistically, one of the most successful qualifiers hence this type of speed ends ultimately plays negatively on a driver's mental side.

As Rosberg showed in 2016, the only way to beat Lewis to the title is by qualifying in the top 2 for the entire season

Another challenge Bottas has is he will become more involved in on track battles at the sharp end which means chances of having shunts also increases

Having said that, I think Bottas' future within the team is pretty secure because of Wolff. All the team will need from him is to score regular podiums, preferably a win or two for him to get a contract extension

As for the question, how do I rate Bottas' chances for 2017, unfortunately not very highly because Bottas and Maldonado are two of the drivers that crashed out in the past whilst trying to overtake Alonso.

Perez too had an slight incident behind Alonso in Malaysia 2012

36

I think that Bottas will need to do better than "a win or two" to get an extention as there will be no shortage of potential replacements. He will need to at least run lewis close for the WDC to stay in my opinion or it will be back to team willy for him!

37

@ Warley

Aah but somebody that will run Lewis close is simply another number 1 driver.

With Bottas, the team were simply looking for a number 2 driver who can help the team win the constructor's

38

Whatever the team were looking for, I consider Hamilton and Bottas to be equal until one of them shows otherwise. I can't buy into driver A is better than driver B business until they are in comparable cars so perhaps I am lacking in perspicacity compared with those able to do so with considerable zeal. I know that some say you can do convoluted comparisons across teams but it just makes my brain hurt 🙂

39

Only 38 and a bit days to go....I am chomping, foaming, twitching and breaking out in a rash?

Murray Walker....."That is a monumental masterpiece of an understatement!'

Christopher Walken...."I have a fever, and the only cure is the start of the 2017 F1 season!'

40

Lewis is gunning for a 4th title of his own
---------------------------------------------

Incidentally Lewis and Ronaldo who happen to be age mates and also lovers of the bling lifestyle, have won titles roughly in the same period i.e. Whilst Lewis won his first title in 2008, Ronaldo won his first Ballon d'Or title in 2008

And just last year Ronaldo won his 4th Ballon d'Or at the end of 2016, maybe this means Lewis will win 4th title in 2017

41

I oh so hope that the FIA stop the silliness and outlaw the FRIC trickery. It will make for a much better 2017, which they surely have to understand they need.

Bottas has nothing to prove except that stepping into a top car propels you to the front of the grid. He will prove the theory that drivers are like lightbulbs, you just plug them in and they work. In PU era with car/team being 90% of the package according to stats and driver 10% at best, probably less due to FRIC impact, it will be interesting to see the sentimental attachment Wolff has to Bottas play out, even if he doesn't officially manage Bottas anymore. After all, he brought Bottas along, unlike Lewis who was refused to fall in line as demanded while often making Wolff and Mercedes AMG team leadership often look silly to be frank.

42

@ Sebee

Aah I think FRIC will be impossible to ban now considering Brawn is currently part of the FIA, for all we know, it was him who discovered this loophole.

Regards Bottas, he sure has a bit to prove in that he is good enough to bring in big constructor's points and thus help the team

43

Brawn works for Liberty, not the FIA.

44

@ DaveM

I stand corrected

Cheers and have a good evening

45

You want to know something funny? And this is so stupid of me, but I bet you I'm not alone in my stupidity...I totally forgot the Brawn link to Mercedes by now with his few years gap and the position he is in now. But you are absolutely right about that link and the fact he is unlikely to go against Mercedes.

46

Having read Ross's book I would say that he is not particularly kindly disposed towards Mercedes current management so I think that favouritism is unlikely.

47

... and before Mercedes, he worked at Ferrari and Williams. Brawn is going to bend rules for all of them?

... and don't forget Brawn was pushed out of Mercedes.

48

Well, I'm sure he'll be mindful to Ferrari needs. Between Ferrari and Mercedes...that's where Brawn gained his status and fortune. You don't forget on which side your bread is buttered.

49

How many laps behind the world are you? Brawn doesn't owe any team. He now works for LM and it's his job to make changes to give us 'good' racing.
It's time you starting thinking before rattling off dozens of posts across the interweb, few of which make any sense whatever.

50

Uh, where did he gain his fortune again?

51

Big chunk of it by selling to Mercedes. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that by putting the cherry on the cake that was Schumi's return to F1 it tipped it and Mercedes bought it. What was it? 100M was it not? And that's GBP not Canadian dollarettes.

52

@ Sebee

Hahaha yes, it's easy to forget stuff these days due to all the gadgets that our disposal

Myself, I had forgotten that Brawn was pushed from the team

53

Goferet, it is easy to forget stuff, it's also easy to invent stuff and see conspiracies that have no basis in fact....

54

@ TimW

Ooooooooo touché mon ami

55

Goferet, fun to do though, maybe Ross passed the drawings of the system he designed to his old mates at Ferrari.......

56

Maybe that was for appearances. After all, he cashed out nicely. Or maybe it was bitterness of the others about how much Brawn made on the team. I think some separation is in order. I think Brawn will be aligned with Mercedes interest, after all, who bought the team? However, maybe he won't make life easy for Toto. When given a chance to make Toto's life hard, he may take it. But Mercedes will take higher position on that priority list, as you correctly pointed out.

57

was brawn happy to exit mercedes?
would he ever want to spoil their party, given the chance?

58

Does Liberty benefit or lose out if Manufacturers move on? Clearly the goal is to apease them, and Ross has intimate relationship with 2 big ones in Mercedes and Ferrari.

59

we all heard ross brawn talking about holding early conversations to replace the pus long before liberty completed their f1 purchase. now that he's heard some responses he's quiet on that topic only mentioning what great pieces of engineering they are and how much manufacturers have invested in them.
he's a competitor and is fully aware of disguised counters..
we'll find out soon enough..

60

Honestly, once he sold the team, and transition with the 3 Schumi years was done, it always felt Brawn was distant and one foot out the door. He was just working through the transition plan to get the final check. Ingredients were there, but no desire to put in what was needed to challenge for a WDC.

61

when he realised schumacher couldn't do the job, he caught on hamilton could do a better job and went after some hammertime to keep mercedes interested. when mercedes offered him the chance to be a shareholder team principal was when he bottled it..

62

Schumi could. I always felt that Schumi's return was a marketing play all around. They are friends, Schumi was going to make bank, Ross was going to as well. Interests were aligned. Schumi would get paid, keep brand alive, keep plugged in for his son, help Ross sell the team to Mercedes, thank Mercedes for their early support of his carrier, get Mercedes commited to F1 for Bernie and CVC and do the final world tour to help F1 put fans in seats and in front of TVs. So many business goals alligned that Schumi getting WDC or even wins was really quite down on the list of priorities in that deal. So when you brag about Hamilton just remember, that's a house that Schumi built. Oh, and Hamilton never won a WDC against Schumi! 🙂

63

Huh? Schumacher didn't care to win with Mercedes?!?? Another bizarre theory. Didn't Schumacher confide to James himself that the drivers today were better than him?

64

No I don't remember that!

65

f1's brag about winners ever since its conception. a chequered flag is waved to brag about the winner, the winning time is used to brag about the winner, the top stop of the podium is used to brag about the winner, the winner's national anthem is played to brag about the winner, interviews are conducted to brag about the winner, fans cheer to brag about the winner so bragging about to winner is customary to f1 and that's what f1 is all about. schumacher wanted to win, he already had more money than any f1 driver in history. he simply wanted to lead mercedes into winning and wasn't good enough. hamilton stepped in and was good enough straight away.

66

Only my opinion but l have no doubt that Schumi could have won a fair amount of races in the 2014-16 cars. As any talented driver would have. I even fancy that he could have taken one title. Lewis or not. Marc

67

Yes and Mercedes were trying to operate on that 'shoe string' budget when Schumi was there until they realised it was never going to work. Whenever it rained during those years Schumacher was always miles faster than Rosberg which says a lot.

68

yep, from pound, he made millions but the game is a competition..

69

how much more money would he have made had he accepted mercedes' initial offer?
with not enough confidence in the team, he chickened out only for wolff to scoop it up legged it.
brawn said afterwards that he wasn't a businessman.
am watching to see what he has in store for wolf and lauda.

70

Buying a team for a pound and selling for 100 million after a year is surely the sign of a poor business acute person. Marc

71

Yes, he didn't maximize perhaps on hindsight. But honestly, he did quite well for himself. I'm sure he made up any gap since with some investments.

72

@ aveli

Good point, I had forgotten that Brawn was pushed.

Saying that Brawn doesn't appear like the vindictive type

73

its instinctive to counter attack and the best counters are disguised.

74

@ goferet....your reading of the tealeaves ?

75

@ kenneth

Hehe guilty

76

I think he will prove to have been a good choice. It will be interesting to see him out of the Williams comfort zone he has enjoyed for several years, and I feel he might just spring the odd surprise, not as a threat to Hamilton's dominance but as a solid No 2, ready to pick up the pieces when necessary.

Not long till we find out now.

77

Agreed. I think Bo77as will be a solid No 2, will win a race or 2, but will not beat Lewis on merit - as you say, he will pick up the pieces when necessary. I have no doubt Merc will be looking at a top line replacement for 2018 as we know that Lewis becomes extremely powerful when he feels indispensible - the Team need another driver close to his calibre to keep him "honest".

78

Most experts, insiders still tip Mercedes to be the leading team, with Red Bull much closer and providing a strong challenge. I'm not sure why Eric Boullier thinks Mercedes may not be the team to beat.
Anyways, if they are the quickest team by a considerable margin come Melbourne, then Valtteri has to give it his all, and then some if he's to stand a chance to beat Lewis, who is in a very comfortable position. I hope it turns out to be a close and exciting battle, Brit grit vs Finnish fire. Hopefully, Valtteri will be more Mika/Kimi and a lot less JJ Lehto/Heikki.

79

Does not really matter who is the team to beat, McLaren aren't going to be challenging any of them. First they have to beat the mid field. I hope the new Honda engine is good and exposes their supposed third best chassis theory for the dream that it is.

80

redbull could have mclaren for company..

81

If Mercedes remain the team to beat, and Bottas is overawed, out thought, out manoeuvred or simply mediocre, then we're potentially looking at one of the most tediously one-sided F1 seasons in living memory.

82

I guess that depends on how long you've been living for.

83

Now he's Hamiltons new teammate, watch how suddenly an army of bottas fans are suddenly on this forum, but of course they have been fans of his since his early racing days!

84

Fursty, my enemies enemy is my friend....

85

I'd just like to put it on the record that I have been a Bottas fan since he started in F1. But I am also a Hamilton fan. So from my point of view will this be a season of divided loyalties or will it be a win-win?

86

Newst, I think a win win is possible. If Valterri can be consistently close to Lewis and beat him occasionally, then he will be seen to have done a good job. If he can do that without resorting to any of the underhand tactics his predecessor used, then even better!

87

they have all arrived...

88

So true lol. He only had Finnish fans at Williams and a few sporadic ones but watch how his 'fan base' suddenly explode in the next few months.....

89

only if bottas is competitive enough..

90

Yup mate, it's Valteri all the way since day one for me, even before that! What was it he won? Gp2? fórmula Renault? The tour de France? Anyways, a true great this valteri!

91

Yes how dare them!

92

I really hope Bottas wins the season opener

93

I have a fiver on that outcome!

94

that sounds like a plan, i think i will do the same 🙂 but as much as i dont want Mercedes to be dominant again this year i really would love for Lewis to be humbled by Bottas. Bring him back to earth, dont get me wrong, lewis is one of the greats and one of the finest, exciting drivers on the track but i think hes becoming a bit too cocky

95

You are hilarious Brawn GP.
Since when are Triple champion so cocktail. Anyone winning or defending their championships are cocky. You need to be cocky. As far as Bottas is concerned he has been a hot and cold driver. On a good day he may shine. On a bad day he is less than average. He is a filler for one season. Alonso will be in that seat in 2018. Vettel will not as he doesn't like having a tussle with his team mate. Ricci ardour showed that and Vettel ran off.

96

Has a championship ever been won without being cocky?

98

Hakkinen as well I suppose.

99

What about DIR or VER? Any team or driver, not Mercedes... But if Mercedes, then yes, Valteri will make a great story.

100

Di Resta or Vergne?!? Did I miss something?

101

RIC, that was the intention. Thx

102

😂😂😂😂 that's what I thought.

103
Clarks4WheelDrift

You're in an alternative reality where the Williams team does really well in '17 with those two drivers 😉

104

Mercedes may not be all conquering, but they will still have a very good car, the pressure of being expected to win every race is something Balterri has never had to deal with before. At Williams if he had a bad race and finished a few places behind Felipe, nobody noticed, now they will be demanding answers if he doesn't finish close to Lewis every time. He seems like the kind of driver who can withstand pressure, so maybe he will be fine, but being Lewis' team mate is probably the toughest job in F1. Anthony Hsmilton is right when he says it can damage careers, Fernando had to run home to Renault two years early, Heiki's top team career was finished, and Nico had to run away from the sport altogether due to the stress! Jenson is the only one to come out of the "Hamilton pressure cooker" un damaged, partly because he was in his prime, but mostly because he realised very early on that he should just ignore what Lewis was doing and concentrate on delivering the best results he could. Valterri would do well to talk to JB rather than Nico, for all the talk of Rosberg "upping his game" last year, the facts are that with any sort of reliability parity between the two Mercs, Lewis' margin of victory would have been just as sizeable as it was for the previous three seasons.

105

button survived because he was good enough, accepted he couldn't beat hamilton under normal cercunstances but relished the fact that he drove for mclaren. all those who failed to realise they couldn't compete, boiled over in career ending styles..

106

Yes Alonso has been living close to the poverty line since 2007.

107

NickH, do you think Fernando's career was damaged by his Hamilton inspired meltdown in 07? Do you think he might have won at least one more championship if he had stayed at McLaren rather than going back to Renault in 08?

108

Yes I suppose so. Easy to speculate though. Didn't he turn down Red Bull around the time he went back to Renault? If he'd gone there he would have likely added a few championships regardless of what happened in 2007 with Hamilton.

109

NickH, but he didn't go to Red Bull, and if he had stayed at McLaren for the length of his initial contract he would have had another year in a championship winning car. He has certainly got form in backing the wrong horse, and you could say that he has done a better job of damaging his own career than Lewis did, but the experience of being Hamilton's team mate was damaging for him.

110

No he didn't go to Red Bull and he didn't stay at McLaren.

111

NickH, which brings us full circle, he didn't stay at McLaren because of Lewis, he didn't go to Red Bull because of other reasons, taking either of those options would have been better than going back to Renault, and then to Ferrari, so being Lewis' team mate had a detrimental effect on his career!

112

Haha... Still clinging to that thread. So actually the ONLY career Hamilton ended was Heikki Kovalainnen... What a scalp!! Alonso and button both had/are having LONG post Hamikton careers. And so Gamilton ended Nicos career by handing him a championship so he could retire... What a guy!! Is that what Maurice meant? I'm not sure. How long do you think you'll have to harp on about reliability before your version of history takes root? Pretty sure it's only going to flower in the good fertile soil of HamFanLand.

113

Who is this maurice you speak of? Clanger.....dropped.

114

@ Sir Tease , well said. My sentiments exactly. Hamilton gifted rosberg a WDC so he could retire gracefully and hamilton would then only have to face a 'numpty' to take his fourth ! hahaha. Wow, such thoughtfulness, who woulda thought?

115

Kenneth,"who woulda thought?" Just you and Sir Tease apparently.....

116

Precisely TimW it's an Aus Fes
It's starting early. The Ham slating disguised as banter.
Before the start of the protectionist banter around their beloved Aus driver. Who'll probably go under as the strain of the Red Bull one sided love for Max increases momentum. Mark Webber Mk2 on starters orders.
Enjoy the Australian GP after which it'll be tears before bedtime 😆

117

Hey Man! I'm a big Ham Fan. We have a lot in common...

118

BigVern, yes the excuses for Danny Ric getting beat by Max are definitely in early this year, lots of talk of RB favouring the youngster before a wheel has even turned!

119

Not from me. I have 500 non-excuses

120

Sir Tease, I admire you for having the courage of your convictions, but a lot of things have to fall into place for your bet to come good.

121

Huh? It is crystal clear that uneven reliability allowed Rosberg an opportunity to win last year. Without it, he would've had no chance. The tough slog is for those trying to argue otherwise.

Maurice? Maurice is an F1 reporter, no relation to Lewis. Lewis' dad is Anthony. That quote was from Anthony.

As for Alonso and Button, Alonso hasn't won a title since Hamilton’s been in F1. He's coming onto 4 years since his last race win! Button drove another 4 seasons, with zero wins and a solitary podium in that time!

122

Anthony Hamilton said that???
Sheesh... way to do my PR
DAD!!

123

Nicely put KRB. 😄
Think the Morris Maurice Dancers👍 are Teasing the Sir 👎

124

I seem to remember Kovalainen having had a few more years in F1 after McLaren. And he won the Super GT title last year. His career was hardly ended by Hamilton.

125

Dave, Super GT you say? Oooh.....!

126

Sir Tease, a strange response if you don't mind me saying, difficult to know where to start really, but from the top:
I said that being Lewis' team mate damaged careers, not that it ended them. Fernando hasn't won a championship since 2006, could he have won in 2007 if he had kept his head together rather than totally losing it? I don't think anyone expected him to be beaten by a rookie, what about 2008? Surely a driver of Alonso's stature could have won that championship against such an inexperienced man? So I think that counts as damaged. Heikki did soldier on for a couple of years with Caterham, but as I said in the post, he wasn't thought of in the same way as before he went up against Lewis. If you had read my post you would see that I said that Jenson was "undamaged" by the experience. This leaves Nico, his career has ended, it is no more, according to Niki Lauda it is because of stress, I don't think Nico ever looked that stressed out by any of his other team mates do you?
Not sure where you got this "Lewis handed Nico a championship" thing from. I have never suggested this, and who is Maurice?!
You asked "How long do you think you'll have to harp on about reliability before your version of history takes root?" The answer is not very long as it is exactly what happened! Is it really a revisionist view to claim that reliability played a major part in the battle between the two Merc drivers last year? When there is a five point margin of victory it is difficult to look at the twenty five points that Lewis lost in Malaysia as anything other than a major contributor isn't it? Are you suggesting that Lewis wouldn't have scored more points in China and Belgium if he had started at the front rather than the back? Or even that he wouldn't have done a better job in Russia if he had started on the front row rather than row five?
It seems obvious to me that Lewis lost rather more than five points to poor reliability last season, but apparently this belief is only shared by people who live in "HamFanLand"? Not sure about that Sir Tease, it strikes me that this is a common belief held by anyone who actually watched the races last year, unless of course they come from "HamBashLand" where none of it made any difference!!

127

Nice response TW. Apart from HamBashLand... That's just clunky.

128

Sir Tease, perhaps we should just call the land of the Hamilton bashers, "Australia".....

129

Unlike the kangaroo I believe it is not unique to down under.

130

We all know what how close Aussies are to Koalas and Kangs. Especially in the outback.

131

Sir Tease, no but it seems to be the spiritual home of the basher....

132

Chris Packham on BBC Nature Watch stated " Well you know what the aussies used in the in the outback ... Koalas and Kangs . STD now runs rife in those critters " .
Their welcome to their indigenous cravings 😉
It is an Australian vs Lewis thing.
But as soon as their darling Ric is given a negative comment it's pop drop the Koala and the protectionist Ric team are in motion. Double standards. Leave your wildlife alone men of Australia 😆

133

The real Hugo Weaving would never say such things. He's actually been to the outback. But you keep educating yourself with the TV.

134

It's a curse. But if you can handle it, you'll make good friends throughout the land.

135

Hambushland perhaps........No.......
I'll get my coat.

136

US President has just declared...ANY comments not 100% endorsed by the LHFC is just "Fake News"....

137

I heard Allison is backing Bottas for the title. Pretty strong sentiments from Merc's new trophy signing of the season. (Allison that is... )
Sources say, Merc hierarchy were pretty unhappy that Toto didn't go BLOCKBUSTER enough with their driver signing. It's been a depressing winter in Finland, long nights... It seems Allison came out in support of the beleaguered Finnish superstar, set to replace Kimi as number one auto celebrity in Helsinki this year.
After hailing Hamilton as one of the greats the conversation went nuclear when it was suggested Bottas was better.

138

Uh, where did you hear (or read) that?

I don't know what to make of certain portions of your post.

139

He is on one of Trumps news feeds.
Then again Australians are still wearing flares wedges and big medallions and dancing to disco on their eight track machines

140

Flares help keep the air attached to the lower legs for less resistance.
Check out RB they seem to do quite well with their car raised at the back, wedges give us the right amount of angle for better traction.
We are so lean and fit down here that we are all under minimum weight. The medallion brings us to the correct weight and we can place it as necessary for best weight distribution.
8 is a magic number, it is ideal for music and is exactly the right number of cylinders a car engine needs, preferably in a V configuration.
We are not dancing, that is just the way we walk.

141

Isn't ignoring the cold hard evidence a Trump administration trait? Ergo, like the LHBC?

53 wins, 104 podiums, 3 titles, but really he's just the luckiest SOB F1 has ever seen. Hmm, very Spiceresque!

LHBC, building walls around their own brains, but it's all good 'cos Lewis is gonna pay for it all!

142

Excellent reverse hitter KRB 👏

143

Many things to comment on,that i would have to post a series of comments. First ,
' Rosberg took the 2014 tittle fight down to the wire - aided somewhat by the double points finale - after scoring one win from the first four races '. Remember that Lewis had a dnf in the first race of 2014, giving Rosberg a 25 points headstart. With a dominant car,Rosberg himself being good enough to come second most of the time,unlike Webber, who was coming fourth or fifth in that dominant Redbull,giving Vettel an easy ride ; and a win giving you only an advantage of seven points, I don't think the daunting, mammoth effort Lewis had to overcome to claw back those deficits to Rosberg is remotely appreciated. He went on to win 10 races to Rosberg's 5, and still had the possibility of losing the tittle hanging over his head with the double - points fiasco. Such is the way F1 is set-up, that it was an astonishingly precarious situation for a driver who delivered that much to have found himself. Justice was served in that final race in Abu Dhabi 2014. This is why I firmly assert that in reality it was not close at all between Lewis and Rosberg. So when Rosberg / Bottas say : ' I beat him ', ' I can beat him ',I hope they appreciate all the easy advantages the inferior driver can enjoy with the way F1 is ,and is set-up; dnfs and all.Having said all these, I have observed enough about Bottas to appreciate that he is a decent enough driver.Whatever you may think of Rosberg, at least he showed more fight than Webber against Vettel.Can Bottas do the same,we await to see. But lewis, an awesome driver and a tough tough character. Reminds me of what witmarsh said about Lewis: ' don't be fooled by his often abrupt emotional volatility, he is a much tougher character than he sometimes lead you to believe '.

144

"unlike Webber, who was coming fourth or fifth in that dominant Redbull"

Yeah, but fourth or fifth with only three wheels on the car is not a bad effort - I mean back in 2010 when his crew were still bothering to put all his wheels on properly he was actually beating Vettel fr much of the season...do we remember that? 🙂

145

Yeah Webber definitely got the short end of the stick there. Not saying he would have beaten Vettel, but after 2010 RBR made sure that it was never close, with some rather odd miscues befalling Mark, starting with China 2011 qualifying.

In 2012 RBR were in a serious fight at the start, so they didn't have the luxury of nobbling Webber early doors. As a result Webber was leading Vettel at the midway point. RBR developed towards Seb and away from Mark, DDRS made it a rocketship, and so they again had the luxury of backing their preferred horse w/o fear of losing the WCC.

146

To be honest from how I remember 2012 Vettel just made lots of silly mistakes in the first half of season like colliding with a lapped Karthikeyan at Malaysia. He did also lose a certain 25 points breaking down at Valencia.

147

NickH, I think your recollection dovetails with mine. With Vettel's various travails in the first half, RBR needed full results from Webber for the WCC, which they led from the 3rd or 4th round on.

148

...and Oh I cheered!

149

Exactly - I could write at length about Webber v Vettel, but thankfully Mark kinda saved me the trouble with his autobiography. As long as RBR don't continue to favour their Continental-Euro upstarts over the Antipodean blokes I'll be a happy camper...

150

"unlike Webber, who was coming fourth or fifth in that dominant Redbull"

Please kindly allow me to revise my previous comment Inshaallahura as it was written with plain bias and sloppy (read no) research.

I have since done said research, so here are Webber's WDC results since RBR became competitive in 2009:

2009 - Webber 3rd
2010 - Webber 3rd
2011 - Webber 3rd
2012 - Webber 6th
2013 - Webber 3rd

Remarkably consistent and impressive when you consider that he was also up against the likes of Hamilton, Alonso, et al, wouldn't you say?

Obviously the elephant in the room is 2012 - Admittedly not a good season for Webber (although it was still a classic season in it's own right), but the main point is that in five seasons in that competitive Red Bull he never *once* ended up coming in fourth or fifth.

Most notably, he still managed to finish 3rd in his final season...even with only three wheels on the car.

As the man said, not bad for a no. 2 driver 🙂

I'm not sure how Bottas will go, but if he does as well against Hamilton as Webber did against Vettel then I reckon that he'll be doing alright 🙂

What do you reckon? 🙂

151

@ random...the big thing that mst people still ignore is the pressure that was applied to webber from within. When Marko says to webber, after discussion about the new car and the setups, "The car and the team is designed around vettel. you'll just have to change'. that my friend is challenge in any ones book. Webber took a lot of rubbish from the team so all in all i am surprised that he did as well as he did. I don't think that bottas will experience that level of discrimination but he will still be up against the 'hamiltons' day in and day out. Tough going....

152

Kenneth:

No wonder Webber arranged his contracts directly with Dietrich Mateschitz thereby avoiding Marko and Horner.

153

Random, is third place in the best car that impressive?

154

Yes Tim, I believe it is. I wouldn't say that in the MB era (is 2nd in the best car that impressive?)
In the RB era, it was much more closely fought and most of the RB dominance was in clear air. Whilst being a pretty decent qualifier, it's undisputed that Webber was a chubby starter, and in my view, that was the only difference between him and Vettel.

155

LKFE, I think there was more air between Seb and Mark than just the starts, Seb certainly seemed more able to make the break after the start and get himself out of DRS range with some very quick laps. I think Mark was a good driver, but he wasn't on Seb's level.

156

Arguably Tim, but it's certainly still better than fourth or fifth 🙂

157

Random, good point as that was the original accusation.

158

@ Random...no, they will all conveniently forget those instances.

159

I do . No body missed the Michelins more than Webber.

160

...except perhaps Alonso - he was mighty aggressive on the turn-in on those.

It was funny how from 2006 to 2007, all the guys that went from Michelins back to Bridgestones suffered - particularly in the early stages of the championship. Funny how that never gets mentioned in the Alonso v Hamilton rhetoric...

161

Huh? I think that gets mentioned a lot! Indeed Alonso holds onto that as the main reason he lost out to Hamilton in 2007. Still, Alonso was the double world champ, and Hamilton a rookie. It should not have been close.

I'm excited to watch Vandoorne, and I think he could be a very good driver, but I don't expect him to beat Alonso, who isn't as sharp a driver now as he was in 2007.

162

Absolutely. Raikkonen also was pretty handy on the Michelins and struggled for a while on the bridgestones.

163

Bottas at merc, proper Darwinian survival of the fittest. Those best able to adapt will thrive, and those who do not..............

164

He'll be stronger mentally than Rosberg was.

If he's competitive with Hamilton pace wise he'll end up beating him. Hamilton is mentally fragile.

165

Boulder dash BenM
Mentally fragile was the young Lewis but that didn't stop him. He grew up in front of the camera unlike some older drivers. So you saw all the emotions.
In terms of race craft he is in the top 3 drivers with Alonso and Vettel .
The next lot are Kimi (who also can run jot or gold depending on his mood).
These guys have won a championship or two.
Then Max V.
The rest are also rans that includes Ricciardo. Thee man who was voted 3rd by the Team Principals. Max 2nd and Lewis 1st. The fragility showed in Monaco when Ricci looked like a slapped rear.

166

BenM, Yes, Lewis joins that long list of "mentally fragile" three time world champions.....

167

Rosberg with all due respect has no secrets to give anyone. Rosberg can never beat Hamilton when their two cars have no or equal reliability problems.

168
Clarks4WheelDrift

Yeah you're right, they never have equal reliability, those failures for Rosberg in 2014 and 2015 like the double engine blows at Monza, double points reliability, reliability in Russia etc, really cost him 😉

He never beat him in any races where they didn't have issues, like in Singapore, or all those wins in a row, he would never take a pole trophy from him either, never...

Plus he didn't have the good mechanics swapped for the bad bunch...

169

Clarkes, put as much spin on it as you like, the facts are that Nico never did beat Lewis over a season without a serious boost from the reliability gods! Those failures that Nico suffered in 2014 and 2015 din't have any effect on the championship battles in those years. Lewis had his own failures in those seasons as well, don't forget. Lewis had four race weekends seriously affected by reliability last year, Nico had none. No getting away from that.

170

TimW:

"reliability gods"?? I know you're using jargon language but I'm pretty sure Toto Wolff and his crew will be more than just embarrassed if history repeats itself. Lewis will not be a happy camper and will demand answers.

As I've posted below Hamilton couldn't care less what advice Rosberg could provide to Bottas or that Bottas is partnering him only that he be provided with reliability. That's all any F1 driver wants I guess but even more so when a championship is up for grabs.

171

Exactly. A DRIVING championship shouldn't be decided by uneven reliability, especially within the same team!!! When one driver gets 21 races where they're able to compete fully, and the other only gets 17, that skews the championship. The one gets near 25% more chances to score fully! If only the best 75% of results counted, then unreliability would only very rarely skew the drivers' championship.

Then any team wanting to hobble one of their own drivers would need to really hobble them, to the point of looking criminally and comically inept.

172

KRB:

You’ve made a good mathematical representation of the reliability problems Hamilton experienced in comparison with Rosberg. But it goes further than that in as much as of the eight Mercedes powered cars on the grid last season only Hamilton’s suffered engine failures or problems which is a massive anomaly that wasn’t lost on Hamilton himself. And to put his engine problems down to ‘bad luck’ or ‘s..t happens’ are not adequate or acceptable answers. I mean why does a new engine fail when he is cruising 16 laps from the end of the Malaysian GP??

As I’ve said in other posts Toto Wolff and his team of engineers and mechanics failed to provide BOTH Rosberg and Hamilton with a level playing field on which to compete and Hamilton while aware that mechanical problems do occur would be aggrieved by the fact that he had to bear all of them. It was like a boxer fighting with one hand tied behind his back.

I’m in no way implying that Rosberg didn’t deserve to win the WDC in 2016. When the flag was waived in Abu Dhabi he had accumulated the most championship points and on this basis was a legitimate world championship but equally it can be said that “uneven reliability” as you say played a part in the final outcome.

173

Sour grapes man! Rosberg beat Hamilton, get over it!

174

Tarun, yes he did, but the reliability miss match between the two Mercs played a major role in that victory. Get over it.

175

No I don't think he will be a challenger. I expect him to collect a basket of very useful points to aid Merc in another WCC (which really is the key reason for his selection).

I will caveat though, as i don't think a title challenge will be Bot's to control. I expect Bot to be a quick, stoic, fair minded team mate which should free Ham up to drive at the top of his potential without distraction.

So really its up to Ham performance to open the door for Bot or keep him firmly away.

176

Part of driving at the top of your potential is racing all-comers, including your team mate. To do so without the distraction of your team mate means you may as well drive flat out on an empty track, a bit like a so-called filming day.

177

My money is on Ricciardo.

178

😂Comical😂
My money is on Lewis Mercedes and then Max as No.1 driver at Red Bull. Can see Ricciardo at Williams in 2018.

179

Hamiltons hands will be full with the Red Bulls. Bottas will be just fine, he is stronger mentally than Rosberg was and that will annoy Hamilton.

180

Yep keep believing that Peter.
Far too many Red Bulls for one day.
Stay on the water for now 😂😂

181

@ Peter....Is he? How did you arrive at that conclusion?

182

Hopefully it will be a bit harder for the Mercedes to make up points like the last few seasons. If one other team gets in the mix the race day vibes at Mercedes will be so different . Less worried about your team mates engine mode settings and more about a different teams plans..... racing again! Please.

183

"he is stronger mentally than Rosberg was and that will annoy Hamilton."
I haven't met either driver personally so can't comment on that, but I guess you have.
Good point about the Red Bulls, I do hope they are mixing it up to have our first good season for quite a few years!

184
The Grape Unwashed

My opinion of Bottas is that he's better than Rosberg in every area: a faster driver, a better racer and a fairer sportsman. With that in mind, we're not going to see the sort of gamesmanship which saw Rosberg stymie Hamilton's qualifying run in Monaco 2014, or the petulant swipe of Spa 2014, or the fridge magnet technique of defence seen in 2016 in Spain and Austria.

Bottas is going to run Hamilton very close, but I suspect he'll be edged out, just like every other teammate of Hamilton: he'll find that he usually lacks that last 10th in qualifying, that he loses more head-to-head battles than he wins. He can build a big trophy cabinet, earn a lot of money, perhaps even pick up a title (with a bit of luck) - but he's not the driver to beat Hamilton over the course of the season, all things being equal.

Bottas' best hope is that Hamilton's relationship with Mercedes continues to sour to the extent that it begins to affect his performance.

185
Clarks4WheelDrift

If Bottas was that good, I'd have expected him to do better against an older, post-accident Massa than he did. Nowhere near the gap Alonso had to Massa in qually and races
...and Lewis is nearly as good as Alonso. 😉

186

hamilton negotiates his own contract with mercedes and will keep adding clauses wherever he sees fits.

187

Pure conjecture.

188

exactly which part is conjecture?

189

I think Hamilton will beat Bottas quite comfortably over the season - different class.

190

I believe the key to the 44 vs 77 clash will be the behaviour of the rear end.
Tires gone wider and wings are lower/wider, that much we know.
How will it affect the driving?
Will the new tires allow power drifting that favours Lewis' style?
Will the new wings increase oversteering?
I think Bo77as prefers a understeering car, so if he manages to develop a very planted rear end he will prevail.
...
About Race Strategy, Bo77as is used to be screwed by Rob Smedley favouring Felipe Massa, so he won't be unsetled if Mercedes changes strategy to favour Lewis.
...
Since the front tires are wider too the front of all cars will be more planted, which helps Ferrari - specially Kimi Raikkonen... Bwoah!!!
I expect much less camber on the front wheels/suspension.

191

Can't help but think there must be something in the deal Merc struck with Williams to allow Valterri to return for 2018 if Merc decide they don't want him. If Felipe only wants to do one more year and Merc decide to retain Bottas, then they are in a similar quandry to this year, namely requiring a driver senior enough to satisfy the Martini and Stroll contracts. Perhaps Nasr would be old enough by 2018 to flog a bit of booze, but does he have the experience to keep Stroll snr happy? If Merc do go for Vettel or Fernando next year, then surely it would make sense for Valterri to go home?

192

Yep TimW.

193

I don't see you complain about 2008 championship...Massa lost it due to illegal singapore gp...so stop acting up...accept the result and get on for the new season

194

Tarun, I'm sorry are you talking to me? Your response has no relevance to my post whatsoever.

195

This should answer the old question as to whether winning in a Mercedes is more the driver or the car.

196

We know its possible to beat Hamilton, and the consistency is the key, which is in Bottas's pocket.

197

are there pockets on their overalls?

198

For the extra couple of grams of textile I suspect they wouldn't, otherwise they could be giving away an advantage!

199

There comes a time in every man's life when he is called to answer and must account for himself. It can be an embarrassing moment. It can be an empowering, enlightening, embiggening moment. That moment is NOW for Valteri Bottas. The Valkyrie come calling for him and he must respond. With what fate is he destined? Is he as fast as Rosberg? Does he need superhuman effort to match Hamilton? Is Hamilton not REALLY on that other level and Valteri can compete?
Funny how Toto has divested himself of all emotion and conflict of interest in this matter. [Mod]
Trending 2017... #iblamebernie
Really? He'd never do the series harm. At least he prevented circuits selling the naming rights to the historic corners that make racing so great. Remember when your favourite stadium suddenly got labelled as some big corporation you never heard of before? Get ready for "Penzoil Parabolica"!! Brought to you by "BP Becketts". And Eau Rouge? Forget it... Castrol Corner. Is it a corporation's creed to own everything?
Is selling out to a corporation the same as being bought by a corporation? Not if you ask Bernie. Come back!! The moustache is already too much! Liberty are gonna bring the Bells and Whistles to formula 1, but will we still hear the cars? At least RB is on-board. Now, before the storm, he is the new Obama. "Yes we can" satisfy the disgruntled fanbase. "Yes we can" legislate for entertainment's sake. "Yes we can" understand that continual growth is impossible in a finite environment. And don't we all just want to believe.
But if Martin Brundle has to look down at a cheat sheet every time he needs to refer to a corner's latest benefactor he's gonna miss half the action. Welcome to watching F1 in Australia mate.
I've got 500 solid on Danny Ric doing the business this year. Silly bookies having him longer than Max. Max is going to be WAY too busy paying dues this year to clinch the championship. But if I had anymore spare cash it'd be on the dark horse from the land of light who isn't Kimi. And with Bottas reaching deep to prove he is nobody's man, Toto will soon be wishing he had Pascal with a sore neck in the other car. As will Hamilton.

200

Did you get your money back from the betting house you laid a Nico bet with last year, that went under?

Any more spare cash should have been spent on the 3rd wife for Valentine's, seeing how ex-wives eat into profits. 💸

201

You digress KRB.
More to the point... Bottas was very hyped before he got bogged down in that Williams. One of three things could happen, 1: he gets destroyed. Career over unless he has Rosberg-like powers of resilience and resurrection.
2: he holds his own, gets mostly good results maybe a win or two fortuitously. Any glitchy bad performances will credibly be put down to "balance","traction" or "tyre deg" factors. Career... stationary. Will always get a job as a no.2
3: he comfortably competes with Hamilton and we have got one ALL-TIME season on our hands.
One thing's for sure, these cars will be very different to drive and the first few rounds and maybe the whole season will be dominated by those with a natural capability for the limits of adhesion and knowing where they are. I read another commenter asking about power slides and their feasibility in the new cars. Good question. Breaking traction KRB! That's what it's going to be about. And you gotta love that 🙂

Btw... No.3 (and I don't mean DR) is long gone. Zero cost to me. She left when she learned one and two cleaned me out.
I did not recover my dues from my bookie. He was hardly a "gambling house", more a bloke in a shed really. Some bigger fry than me took his house when the government froze his accounts. I have NO idea where that money is going. I heard the ATO is also prosecuting him, so I doubt the gov will release their icy grip on the funds any time soon.

202

Was Bottas very hyped though? By other than Williams? Bottas won Formula Renault 2.0 NEC in 2008 with 12 wins. He also won the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, just ahead of Ricciardo, even though he won one race less (5 to 6). Here's a great clip of them fighting, during the 2nd round, 2nd race that year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JInezOcF20

Valtteri then moved to F3 in 2009 with ART, alongside Bianchi and Gutierrez. Bianchi was in his 2nd year with the team (finishing 3rd in 2008 F3), and Jules won F3 in 2009 with 9 wins, while Bottas won none. Jules was 12-3 ahead when both finished. Bottas did win the rookie championship though, overhauling Alexander Sims over the last round. In 2010 Bianchi moved on, and Bottas stayed with ART, now with Sims as his teammate. He beat Sims, but only just, and finished 3rd behind two Signature drivers.

In 2011 Bottas went to GP3, and he won the title only just beating out his teammate James Calado.

I'm not sure Bottas has won his junior titles as convincingly as might have been expected. He surely was expected to win the title in 2010 F3, but didn't. His rookie F3 season was decent, though not as good as Bianchi's rookie F3 season in 2008.

We'll see how it goes, but I'm not sure if Bottas will be able to improve on Rosberg's level, vis-a-vis Hamilton.

Re: your #3, I'm glad to hear the break was clean and cost-free. My advice, don't ever get married again. As for your bookies, I don't know if you want to run with people like that. Stick to the well-established ones.

203

Nice clip KRB. Let's hope for a bit of that kind of racing in F1 this year.
Based on your summary of Bottas' junior career I don't think Hamilton will be losing much sleep over his teammate. Let's hope RedBull engineer a challenger.

204

@ Sir Tease..the margin between DR and MV was, last time i looked, half a point! maybe an each way would've been more prudent? But what would i know....hahah the last bet i had on a horse race was when i was 16yo. and i won thirty times my weekly salary on a horse owned by the father of my best friend. It was doped to the eyeballs and won by half a lap at an obscure country track. I vowed then that i would never give it back!! It was like winning the lottery hahaha.

205

You are clearly a prudent man Kenneth. I on the other hand am a gambler. What odds would you give on DR?

206

@ Sir Tease...as you may have gathered i am not a gambling man. The odds that DR can win the WDC are beyond me....he is second or third ATM in ranking so there are some people that think he may be a good bet. My suggestion...follow your inner instinct....

207

I've got 500 solid on Danny Ric....

And you are calling the bookies silly !

208

You said I was throwing my money away on Rosberg too. Look how that panned out!
(not well, I know, but at least I backed the right horse...)

Tease Tip 2017... Get yer wadge on Danny Ric for a roller coaster good year. DISC... (this tip is tailored specifically to the gambling needs of poster: C63 and should not be taken as general advice.)

209

I'm not sure why everyone is so confident red Bull will be mixing it with merc? The only time they were anywhere close last year was the last few races and Mercedes had their engines turned down after Lewis blow out in Malaysia. They also had a good show in Monaco but that kind of proves the point... lacking engine power. Sure it's a reset in the rule book somewhat but that merc can go so much faster than it showed in the last few races of last year. This seems to be a point not picked up on by anyone..... why?

210

Exactly Dean.
Heavier cars. You need a powerful engine. Mercedes have the best engine outright. Mercedes will be tops and favourites. As the Patrick Head said anyone who thinks any different must have a whole in their heads.

211

Renault will be better this year, is why.

212

I would expect them to be, but it's no certainty. They were supposed to be better in 2015, but weren't.

213

When they have Verstappen at shorter odds than Ricciardo, then yes I would!

214

BigHaydo, maybe they know something you don't...

215

Y'ever wonder why that is though? Bookies aren't in the business of giving away money ... I think Ricciardo and Verstappen to be closely matched, but I think anytime there's a 50/50 call to make, that RBR will back Max over DRic. I would like to hope that's not the case, but it would fit in with their past behaviour with Seb v Mark.

216

KRB -bookies set odds based on the volume bet (or expected to receive) on each runner. The more money placed on the runner, they lower the odds. It's market driven. Considering the number of fans each driver has, i'd be gob smacked if there was ever more money laid down on Danny than Max.
People mistake "bookies odds" for "likelyhood of winning".

217

Uh, bookies set their odds initially so as to ensure a payoff no matter what.

https://betting.betfair.com/the-art-of-bookmaking.html

The odds will move later if the liability on one side of a bet gets too big.

It's not solely market driven ... unless you think Bottas (4/1) has received more bets placed on him than Ricciardo (4/1). The odds from the outset for the 2017 DWC were always shorter for Verstappen over Ricciardo, and that's because the bookies set it at that.

218

I don't pretend to be an expert on betting, but the little I do know is that the bookies are definitely not the silly ones when compared to their punters. Besides I thought the odds were largely a function of the bets received - set in order that the bookie makes a profit regardless of the outcome. That being the case it's the punters who have potentially got it wrong by betting on Verstappen not the bookies.

219

Don't sell yourself short C63! You are correct.

220

C63, many years ago I had a taxi business, all very enjoyable due to the wide range of different people you would meet. One particular evening I picked up a bookies wife and drove her home, she spent the whole journey complaining that when people find out her husband is a bookmaker that they assume they are loaded. She was still talking on this subject when we arrived at their house and she buzzed open the electric gates and asked me to drive the final quarter mile up their gravel driveway to the front door....

221

C63, I wonder what the odds are on Danny Ric finishing fourth in the championship....

222

I will have whatever Sir Tease is having.....

223

One thing for sure is that Bottas is a very Hamilton-friendly move by Mercedes. They could've pushed harder for Max, Ricciardo or Alonso, but they went for a clear #2. We'll just have to see how Bottas fits the #2 mold!!!

224

Mercedes couldn't afford either of the red bull guys!!!

225

Huh? A list of driver salaries came out recently (who knows how accurate it is), and Bottas was making more than both Max and DRic. I believe it was 8.5m for VB, 6.2m for DRic, and 3m for Max.

Yep: http://www.financialexpress.com/auto/car-news/fernando-alonso-tops-formula-one-driver-salaries-for-2017-season/553255/

If you mean to buy them out, then that's more to do with RBR not wanting to help Mercedes, and being of similar financial heft.

Rosberg was set to make 18m, which would have seen them have the highest driver wage bill, so obviously they can afford any driver.

Red Bull pay their drivers comparatively poorly, but I guess that's because they pay Adrian a lot!

226

Bad argument. The value of DR and MV will be decided on the open market once they are free agents. Their salaries now are skewed in relation to their worth by the long term contracts which began before either had proved their value.

227

@ KRB....you are taking my post too literally. My point was, that Red Bull have their sights firmly set on taking the fight to mercedes and winning multi titles. That said they believe they the two best 'guns' in their stable to do just that. that is what i meant. Everyone has a price but i doubt whether mercedes would've ponyed up to get them given what Red Bull would want.

228

Bottas is right, "If the car is the strongest", eg. if the Mercs are the best, and his is the only car out of the two that does not break down five races of the season, I'm sure he has a great shot of emulating Rosberg.

That's not to say that he couldn't get some wins on his own merit, just that Toto and Nicki can go [mod] themselves if they think I'm going to trust them to keep it fair.

229
Clarks4WheelDrift

So Anthony thinks it would be career ending for Bottas to compete against Lewis...

Sounds like a great strategy, be a good little number 2, that'll really improve the action and popularity of F1.

Take three years of a one team, inferquent two man racing with dirty air for whomever is in 2nd, for three years of poles, wins and titles never so devalued due to continuous lack of competition... then turn it into a fourth year with a one team, one man "Sunday drive" to poles, wins and title... Brilliant.

Over half of Lewis's wins and poles have been against no real competition, so Anthony it would do him good to finally have to race against both a teammate and other teams, if only so he doesn't get further known as the guy who was handed more wins on a plate than anyone else in the history of F1.

It's a distant memory, the respect he got for a cracking 2007, where he had a bit more to worry about than blue flags and driving especially slowly so the other cars can close up to 2nd place.

It would also do Mercedes good as well for their PU has killed qualifying and racing for victory for the last three years, and counting. If they have no competition yet again in '17 then the only hope for a flatlined F1 is to run a 3 car team with Lewis Fernando and Seb in '18... 😉

230

Charles, Anthony said that being Lewis' team mate could be a career killer, he didn't say that competing with Lewis would be career ending for Valterri, quite the opposite in fact. If Bottas is competitive with Lewis, then his career will be enhanced, not ended.
You may think that Lewis' wins and poles are devalued by having no real competition, but are you really saying that Nico was no competition? Surely he was stronger competition for Lewis than an over the hill and deliberately hampered Webber was for Seb? Or a contractually pre hampered Rubens was for Michael?

231
Clarks4WheelDrift

Not that Nico was no competition, just that they didn't really race each other wheel to wheel that often over all those races.

Not enough racing out front because no other team was close but also to do with the dirty air following and the boring, leader pits, gets undercut and 2nd place pits the next lap Merc boring strategies.

F1 was Vetteled in 2010 but it was way better in 2010 for competition, Webber really raced against Seb, plus Alonso and Button and Lewis with Newey coming stronger at the end of the year as per usual.

232

Clarkes (not Charles!) I take the point about the lack of racing last season, for whatever reason it never seemed to happen, apart from Spain and Austria of course! There were some good battles in 14 and 15 though. Maybe some other teams can get involved this year, heres hoping.

233

What happens to Hamilton if he comes second to Bottas (won't happen I imagine) deep down this may haunt Hamilton junior all season if things don't go as planned.....

234

Dream on with the what ifs 😄

235

Is this Pau Hembery of Pirelli, the official F1 Tire supplier admitting that we've been watching a dog and pony show last 3 years? Sure reads like it.

>
"The cars will be faster, the drivers will be on their limit, they'll be making mistakes and we'll be seeing overtaking in that way. That's how it should be," he added.

"We'll have a real world championship again."

So instead of the races being more boring, Hembery explained: "They will become clearer and easier to understand."

236

Sebee, surely you mean 6 years? Pirelli came back to the sport with their high deg tyres in 2011.

237

We didn't notice as much because for 3 years cars still sounded decent with V8s, we had some exciting racing, including 7 winners in first seven races, last race WDC showdown between different teams, etc. It wasn't a Mercedes 86% steamroller accompanied by silence and fuel and PU saving.

238

Sebee, you mean you didn't notice so much.

239

It is happening!

McLaren just announced new 720S is coming, and the key selling point is thst it will be faster than....wait for it...Tesla P100D in a standing 1/4 mile at 10.3s vs. 10.5s for P100D. Hilarious!

Can you believe it? A high performance house like McLaren trying to get street credibility by comparing a 2 seater "super car" against probably a 1/4 of the McLaren 720S price 5-passanger family sedan. It's over. Super cars have been killed. RIP.

240

m5 sebee...

241

You made me look at V10 M5s. 30k for 10 year old, 40k for 8 year old low milage example. That's stupid for a used sedan. I'd rather get a new Model 3 Tesla.

242

m5 is the original saloon supercar killer sebee. a clasic.
how many hours does it take to charge those battery operated cars again?

243

If you're OK with a used one, it comes with a V10. I feel like I'm obligated to buy it.

244

Yeah, but how much more frequently do you have to charge your Tesla to do that? I bet the re-charge takes a lot longer than a trip to your local servo.

The McLaren would also be well on the way by the time you consented to the disclaimer on the dash about using the Ludicrous mode.

245

How often do you drop the hammer on a 1/4 mile run in your automotive life? I've actually never seen a McLaren driver do anything exciting in real life. They just drive it stuck in traffic like everyone else.

McLaren P1 Hybrid, did you know it can't do back to back hot laps? It doesn't have the juice! Not only electric cars have limits you know. You want to know how I learned this? When I read a bit about how Viper ACR with a naturally aspirated V10 and 6 speed manual stick shift (no paddles!) was claiming the most track speed records for a production car, setting laps faster than McLaren P1 and Porsche 918. And they were always were doing 2 hot laps at each track with their records, so that if P1 or 918 came back to try and beat the Viper time, the Dodge boys wouldn't even have to bother, as they already had the answer. "Oh yeah? You beat out lap time? Do it in back to back laps!" They can't as the hybrid power plant can't do it either.

246

you never see mclaren drivers exploring the limits of their cars because you never keep up or catch up to them on open roads.

247

I drove on the highway with a 918 last summer, good hour, either behind me or just ahead. It seem the driver was quite obedient of traffic rules and as such was not magically warping ahead. Just this Monday I drove on the local highway next to an orange McLaren, stuck in traffic just like I was. Turns out McLaren's can't hover around traffic, even with their wonderful V8 and carbon fibre tub.

When I had the desire to be connected to the road, and wanted to have a really pure motoring experience, I didn't do it with a McLaren or hybrid. I did it with a GSXR in 750 or 1000. When I used to check on these things I recall seeing my GSXR1000 capable of standing 1/4 mile at under 10s. Still faster than new McLaren 720s that's not here, and still faster then Tesla P100D. It cost me 10 grand. I was connected to the machine with every limb, and the thing revved to 15K like a dream. It begged for it all day long. I surrendered it because quite frankly, it was irresponsible for my safety and those of others because toys like this urge you to break road rules and put yourself and public at risk. It is something that will surely be engineered out with self driving electric cars - and clearly for safety reasons. Formula 1 should capture this and aim to be an outlet for what eventually not be allowed on public roads thanks to electronic controls.

248

was your experience as exciting as these sebee?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M7vVUx9h4F8

249

Sebee, is that the only selling point of the 720s?

250

Oh...also, the 720S is 3000lbs vs 5000lbs P100D. Yet it is McLaren claimed 10.3 vs track proven 10.5 for Tesla. Imagine what happens when next gen batteries are put in the P100D that double the range and take out 1000lbs in weigh.

Tesla P100D used to go 0-60 in 2.4s, but recently it went in 2.27s, do you know how? A software update that was beamed to every P100D overnight. Can a McLaren 720S get faster as it stands in your garage?

251

No, expense and lack of convenience is likely another. You think these things will be an investment? Grow in value? Here is some cold hard logic for you.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/classic-cars/a32442/what-tomorrows-autonomous-vehicles-mean-for-todays-collector-cars/

252

How come Rosberg winning the Laureus is not news on JAF1 ?

253

Because it will just turn into another Nico bashing from the LHFC with wild conspiracies and ridiculous claims.

[Mod]

254

Rockman, of course we never see any wild conspiracies from the Hamilton detractors do we? Or any Lewis bashing every single time his name is mentioned for that matter. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.....

255

Like what Tim? Wasn't it Lewis last year starting the conspiracies lapped up by the LHFC? Oh wait, that's right, he can never do any wrong in your eyes.

I've managed to ignore all your [Mod] posts here but without fail, here you are...

256

Rockman. Some people like conspiracies, some people don't. Your original comment seemed to suggest that Lewis fans were the main source of conspiracy theories on this site, when in fact the opposite is true. It appears from your response that you think I am some sort of blinkered Lewis fan who is blind to his faults. This isn't true either, but I have to say I don't remember you ever writing anything positive about the guy, so perhaps you aren't in a position to criticise blind bias in others.

257

You never read aveli's comments then

258

NickH, not often to be honest, but ok you got me. In my defence though a quick look through the 200 odd comments on this article delivers conpsiracy theories on Mark Webber being deliberately hampered by Red Bull, the beginnings of the same theory about Ricciardo, a good one about Ross Brawn designing Merc's fancy suspension and of course the one about the "real" reason why James didn't deem the Laureus awards worth of report, none of these came from Ham fans, quite the opposite in fact.

259

That's a farcical statement Rock man. I generally think it's a hilarious award. Most improved. It's like saying I've stopped using crayons and now I'm using a real grown up pen.
It's you lighting the fire from which you will start flinging your pillow towards an imaginary target.

260

Sensitive much?

If you take notice, I did not make a mention of the award whether it's valid or not is up to anyone. I'm answering the question as to why James hasn't written an article about it and the subsequent result it will have.

261

A very good question? Most likely a decision to not 'disturb' the acolytes. They can bluster until the end of time but Rosberg is the WDC and that is that.

262

Here you go Debs. Notice Kenneth has entered in your defence. This comedy award for most improved is an hilarious award. For the quitting Champion.
The Larry's are Tiny Monaco Awards
from the rich Royalty to its beloved Son. They have as much meaning as an egg and spoon race trophy at a child's sports day.

263

@ Hugo..did you post that same message when hamilton won the same award?

264

Kenneth regarding HW post. The Larry's as he calls it... is a comedy award for all sportsman it's a rich [Mod] town award. Whether it's Lewis or Rosberg getting the accolade. Its small fry i cant even remember Lewis winning it. If he did its means nothing in comparison to the prestigious award The BBC Sportsman of The Year Award which Lewis has won. So has Nigel M and D Hill and Hill Senior, James Hunt Barry Sheene and other great Sportsman including Murray and the Swede Bjorn Borg. To name but a few.
That award holds serious Kudos.
The Monaco award is a weekend jolly in Monaco.

265

To be honest Biff, I am British, and the SPOTY award is becoming more and more 'who gives a t*ss' every year. The recipients seem to continue this vibe, what with Murray seeminlgy not valuing the award highly enough to abandon his Miami swimming pool for a day or two.

They would do better giving it to unknown sportsmen and women who don't earn the megabucks of the stars in the mainstream sports and could actually really benefit from the award.

266

Sounds like the BBC award can only be won by Brits? Prestigious? Serious Kudos? So how would Nico go winning that? Small net don't you think?

267

Well that's hogwash LFKE!!
Also won by overseas athletes. As Bjorn Born did
as Usian Bolt did. A variety of foreign athletes have won including Micheal Johnson Sprinter Ed Moses the hurdler. Best Overseas Sportsman Award.
So why is the BBC sports award programme shown throughout the world. Unlike other awards which are viewed locally? Because the award has historical significance and prestige.
You can ramble all you want LFKE or are you Trumps spokesperson 😂?

268

Biff, we have these Gold Logie things too, but are humble enough to admit that they ain't Oscars...
I wasn't aware the award show was televised? I don't think it's reached us out here in the colonies!
Re Trump...I believe the role of Trumps spokesperson has been made redundant and absorbed upwards!

269

LKFE:

Ha, ha!! How true. The Trumspter is his own living breathing self-appointed spokesperson. Every one else sprouts "alternative facts".

270

@ BB... my reference was to the Laureus awards...which were won by ricciardo and hamilton in previous years.

271

No point arguing Ken me mate, he thinks a 'British' award for 'sports' is more prestigious! They're a bit comical over in the old dart! 😀

272

Yep and the golden ute goes to you mate 😆 no need for darts. We have the Royal Artillery for that.

273

Haha you misspelled "Holden" 😂

274

Bottas said that Rosberg proved Lewis is beatable.
Massa proved that already long time ago in 2008.
If only McLaren did not cheat with Toyota...

275

The more you read how good Lewis is the more I am convinced that Nico is a worthy campion.
After all Nico did not messed up 5/6 start as Lewis did.
There is where Lewis lost the title and Nico did a better job, not the DNF.

276

Bottas has never driven a championship calibre car and is therefore an unknown as far as what he can achieve. He now has that opportunity and no doubt the Mercedes hierarchy will expect certain things of him. While they have made it clear that both he and Hamilton are ‘free’ to race for victories I don’t think they expect him to win on a regular basis but rather score sufficient podiums/points to secure another WCC and the prize money that goes with it.

Going up against probably the most talented driver of the current generation in Hamilton (who will be bent on rectifying on what he believes was denied him last season) it won’t be an easy gig and Bottas knows that. My fear is that if he doesn’t live up to Mercs expectations or gets blown away by Hamilton what is his future? If he does live up to or exceed expectations he might get an extension on his contract but if not as the article says Alonso and Vettel will be available. While there is a bit of ego behind Hamilton Snr’s comment there might also be an element of truth behind it especially if Bottas does have a shocker and there is no pathway back to Williams. His future really is in his hands and time will tell.

As far as Rosberg not wanting to reveal information to Bottas about how he should compete against Hamilton I don’t think Hamilton could care less about what Rosberg might say. In fact Hamilton probably doesn’t even care who is in the other side of the Merc garage.

277

I actually feel sorry for Bottas. My feeling is that the streetfighter in Lewis is looking forward to this new challenger, only this time he not only wants to beat him but embarrass him so much so that he will want to leave Merc. Hamilton is now at that stage in his career where he needs to pound the very best into submission to be even mentioned in the same sentence as were Senna and Schumacher. Bottas on the other hand, has never faced an aggressor such as the Hamster and I doubt whether he will hold up under pressure. Just take a look at the qualifying session in Baku when he tried to sweep in front of Verstappen so he could try one final lap, thereby ruining both attempts. No, Valterri will be the Hamster's next scalp.

278

Well said 👍

279

hlg888:

You might well be correct. Hamilton will be on a 'personal mission' to claim a fourth WDC something he no doubt believes was taken from him last year and only engine unreliability will stand in his way. While Bottas might be embarrassed, if RB have closed the gap to Merc I think Hamilton may face stiffer opposition from Ricciardo and Verstappen.

With Alonso and Vettel coming out of contract at the end of the year I can't help think that Bottas is just a 'stop gap' measure for Mercedes.

280

Plus, don't forget Nico how distant they may have become still was a childhood friend no matter how much Lewis the streetfighter tried to suppress those feelings. The boxer mentality which Lewis undoubtedly has will find it much easier to smash the next great white hope to pieces than a former friend. I think you will that innate aggression within Hamilton reach a new high.

281

I can see Alonso and Lewis partnering up again. Can't see Vettel at Mercedes after his flat years at Red Bull and Ferrari. I would like see Vettel in a Mclaren. Regarding stiff opposition that hasn't been a worry for Lewis nor any top driver.
You forget the inter team battle at Red Bull will be more stressful for Ricciardo. Dr Marko and DM favour Max over Ricciardo. Plus Sainz if he doesn't get a drive with Red Bull will be taken by another top team. Red Bull will have Max and Sainz in 2018 financially they are Young and have big sponsors and fit into the young Red Bull brand. I can't see Ricciardo fitting into Red Bull past this year.

282

Adrian
You would be naive to think Dr.Marko DM are not favouring Max. Eddie Jordan said that after Barcelona, he said the same thing regarding Vettel. As for Ricciardo being 27 in Red Bull years that's old. They target group is 18-25 beyond that the pounding techno music and Ibiza party mode and freestyle winter sports themes doesn't promote well with the youth.
Dr Marko stated Vettel and Mark were allowed to race equally. That was a lie especially when they gave a new front wings aimed for Mark to Vettel as he pronged his.
The same will happen with Max being favoured. Ricciardo will end up the new Mark. He is a marketable asset in Australia and decent driver. But globally the asset is Max and the future as is Sainz.

283

BK Flamer:

As I said in my earlier post RB are only interested in winning and if BOTH Ricciardo and Verstappen succeed in doing that why would they want to change. Their nationality wouldn't mean anything if they fill up the RB trophy cabinet. By the way Ricciardo being an Italian Australian does have a following in Italy.

Don't get me wrong Verstappen is an unbelievable talent especially for one so young but here's a question for you: What if he doesn't live up to the expectations everyone has of him this year?

284

BK Flamer:

I think Mercedes would only consider Alonso or Vettel for 2018 if Bottas has a poor 2017 season. Thing is neither Alonso nor Vettel may want to move to Merc if they have successful seasons with their current teams. If it came to a choice between Alonso and Vettel I personally think Merc would go with Vettel because of his nationality (i.e, German driver with German team) and because he’s much younger than Alonso who will be turning 37 in 2018.

How do you know that Marko and Mateschitz favour Verstappen over Ricciardo? Webber may have suffered from favouritism at the hands of Marko but Ricciardo is a better driver than Webber. Horner has made it clear that both Ricciardo and Verstappen will be ‘free’ to race without restriction or favouritism.

Red Bull are only interested in winning and if Ricciardo and Verstappen can do that then I don’t see them dumping Danny for Sainz. Why would they? By the way Ricciardo is only 27.

285

Based on the few previous seasons, it is not easy to imagine Bottas beating hamilton over the season. At the same time he has not yet been in a car that was even closed to what he will be getting this season. Yes he has not shown Massatoo the extent that Alonso has, but neither did kimi whom l highly rate. I hope Bottas will surprise us specialy if once again Mercedes is on a class of their own, but are sure hope we get a multi team championship for a change. Marc

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