Valtteri Bottas: Competitor, or Mercedes F1 “wingman”?
Mercedes
Posted By: Editor   |  30 Jul 2018   |  7:31 pm GMT  |  232 comments

He’s been given the supporting role in the last two races and is now 81 points behind championship-leading team-mate Lewis Hamilton; but Valtteri Bottas does not see himself as demoted to “wingman” at Mercedes for this season.

The Finn’s resolute defence of second place gave race-leader Hamilton the perfect chance to use clear air to build a comfortable gap over his championship rival Sebastian Vettel – who was stuck behind the Mercedes – and win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Having pitted early than planned to cover off the threat from Raikkonen, Bottas was put onto a one-stop strategy when Mercedes realised they had a chance of holding up Vettel.

It worked, and Vettel – set back further by a pit stop error – emerged from the pit lane behind Bottas, who spent the rest of the race on a set of worn soft tyres, completing over 50 laps on the set.

His tyres held up well for a long time and Vettel was unable to challenge until the final few laps of the race.

With Bottas’ awkward defence of second place damaging his Mercedes, he eventually fell to fifth place after another tangle with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said after the race that he thought Bottas’ “sensational wingman” performance deserved a podium.

Wolff said to Sky Sports F1: “It feels a bit bittersweet, I don’t know why, because Valtteri would have deserved a podium because he was such a sensational wingman.”

These comments didn’t resonate too well with Bottas, who was clearly already annoyed at his own performance when speaking to reporters after the race.

“First of all ‘wingman’ hurts,” he said. “Second of all, I don’t see any positives in this race for me. I wanted a better result.

“We thought in theory we should have been able to do that one stop. We had to stop earlier than we wanted because of Kimi [Raikkonen], we had to cover him, and still 20 laps before the end everything was feeling okay.

“We could control the pace and my position, but then the rear tyres started to die. I tried to defend the best I could, as aggressive as I could, but it ended up being a bit of a mess in the end with the broken front wing and everything.”

Bottas added that he wanted to speak to the Mercedes bosses about the “wingman” comments and suggested that he’d had no instructions about playing a supporting role to Hamilton.

“I think we need to speak after this race,” he said. “We are over halfway [through] the year and the points gap is big, but for sure the team will decide at some point.”

Bottas’ annoyance at being referred to as a ‘wingman’ might well be justified.

Just over a week after the news emerged of him signing a new one-year extension to his Mercedes contract, he has had to play a supporting role at the German and Hungarian Grands Prix.

At last week’s race in Hockenheim, Bottas – equipped with fresher tyres – was told to hold his second place position behind Hamilton in the final stages of the race, moments after challenging for the lead.

This time in Budapest, despite having the measure of Hamilton in the dry this weekend, once both Mercedes were through lap one without losing a place, it became clear that Bottas’ strategy was a reactive one, with Mercedes doing everything they can to prevent the faster Ferraris from gaining places.

Bottas’ sub-optimal strategy of pitting early (in response to Raikkonen) and completing over 50 laps on the soft tyres was purely to keep him as the ‘cork in the bottle’ for as long as possible on the track.

Whilst Mercedes have maintained after Germany and Hungary that the two Mercedes drivers are “free to race”, could the last two races have shaped Mercedes’ tactics for the rest of the season?

Wolff and Bottas clarify comments

When asked about his comments later on, Wolff defended his remarks, but added that Mercedes are not yet backing one driver over the other in the championship, and that his “wingman” comment was specific to the race scenario, and not the drivers’ championship.

“That’s exactly why things that are not being discussed directly face-to-face are being completely spun out of control in the wrong way,” Wolff said.

“In today’s race, starting P2, after lap one, Valtteri’s race was the perfect wingman race – and I don’t mean it in championship terms, because we have no number one, we have no number two, but it was just how he was racing.

“It was, from my standpoint, the best race so far with Mercedes in the last three [two] years.”

“The bittersweet feeling I have is that he would have deserved to finish P2 – where he has started and where he was after lap one.

“But, are you saying maybe the word wing man doesn’t do him justice? He just drove a sensational race and helped Lewis, in a way, to build the lead.”

Bottas also looked to clear the air over the post-race comments, and took to social media to say that he understood the comments made and believed the same strategy would’ve been made with Hamilton.

“I have not called a meeting with the bosses for Toto saying I was the perfect wing man in this race,” read the statement.

“There is no need to. I was disappointed with my end-result in the race and saw everything in a negative way for a moment.

“I know what he meant. And he would have said the same about Lewis if he’d be in same situation and had a similar race.

“We are on equal terms and I trust the team 100% on that. All good. We’ll keep pushing! It’ll come.”

Widely considered to have been one of the unluckiest drivers this season, Bottas is stilling awaiting his first win of the season. Despite challenging for races wins in Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Austria, Great Britain and Germany, his best finish remains second place, which he has achieved five times this season.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

What role do you think Bottas has in the team for the remainder of this year? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1
Torchwood Mobile

Due to potential conflict of interest, Toto was forced to stop being Valterri’s manager (or part manager), when he replaced Nico.

And with the Hungary 2017 position swap, the strategists had to leave their posts to reassure him why the action had been taken.

I don’t see Toto relegating Bottas to a season-long, or multi-race, Number Two position, at least until it is mathematically impossible for him to earn the WDC.

2

The two Finns are been used as cannon fodder.

3

You are so right and it,s disgusting! If they were really serious they would let both Botas and Kimi win races, but no. It’s all sham.

Both Botas and Kimi are as quick as the other two!

4

Why shouldn’t they if they are the slower driver week in week out? If you want to be seen as the lead driver you have to beat your team mate.

Bar mechanicals Valterri and especially Raikonnen have failed to do that so unless they up their game they will have to play second fiddle.

5

“And he would have said the same about Lewis if he’d be in same situation” dream on.

6

I think this is a very disappointing article for a site of this calibre. Jumping on the bandwagon of trying to spin that Mercedes has a 1-2 hierarchy to the extent that Ferrari does.

There’s no mention of the fact that Ferrari are clearly the faster team at the moment, heavily backed for the win and probably 1-2 in Hungary in the lead up to the GP.

Do people seriously think without Mercedes playing the team game by using Bottas to hold up Vettel that they would have won? I think it’s clear that if team strategy wasn’t used in this race Ferrari were clearly the faster package and they would have won. Mercedes won the race because they played the strategy brilliantly.

Are Mercedes there to win races or to ensure a completely even playing field between their two drivers?

Perhaps they should have pitted Bottas during the VSC to bank 4th place and maybe a podium albeit sacrificing 2nd but I guess we’ll never know what would have happened should they have done that, but that was their only strategy error.

At Hockenheim there was a handful of laps left, Vettel had put it in the fence and you are running 1-2 and will retake the Constructors lead. Hamilton is clearly a bit fiery (judging on Hungary Bottas doesn’t mind a spot of dodgems either) and the track is slippery. For me that’s the situation when you say guys hold position and bank the result.

I strongly disagree that the evidence of the last 2 races suggest that Mercedes have changed their 5+ year stance and are now running a clear 1-2 structure like Ferrari always do.

7

Good comment. The Ferrari is clearly the quicker package right now, and it’s hard to see Mercedes being able to catch up to them for the remainder of the season. The new MGU-H/battery/turbo tech that is propelling them out of corners is not something easily copied and then rushed into production. It’s not even clear whether Mercedes even understands what Ferrari are doing there.

And yes, without that strategy Mercedes would have lost in Hungary. Ferrari were plainly quicker. If Vettel had started on pole, he would’ve disappeared.

8

Mathematically (81 points ?) Bottas is now quite far from contending the WDC.

As all top 6 drivers had their share of bad luck, will put that aspect away.

This difference happened due to some driving errors from him, and some stronger drivers getting the best out of him.

There was a light (hand) of MB in that, but that happens in SF as well, and if Bottas was showing better form than Lewis, this (hand) would have not continued.

So, as it stands now, he is the support driver for Lewis, like it or not, from a WDC perspective. For WCC, he needs to be on top of Kimi.

Those now, are his 2 jobs, and he needs to forget about competing wins with Lewis.

It is sad state of facts of F1, ruining it for fans, wasting 2 good SF & MB seats, which would have had better drivers in them and more on-edge races.

9

Post-Rosberg (absent a sudden decline in Lewis’s performance that makes MB want to groom his successor), of course Bottas is the wingman. MB does not want a repeat of the hammer and tongs matchup Lewis and Nico had.

No, utterly unsurprising for Valtteri to be in this role. It is only remarkable when set against the holier than thou PR offensive of MB (and others) relative to Ferrari going back to the Schumacher era.

10

So my comment was here one minute then deleted the next… It’s probably why there’s less and less interaction from the community these days.

11

I find Wolff very arrogant. He says one thing, then he believes he means another and in the end he says something different. 3 weeks ago he questioned Ferrari. In Austria Ferrari didn’t deploy tactics in letting Vettel overtake Raikkonen. In Germany “Bottas hold position” was a blatant one. In Hungary, wingman Bottas deployed everything to thank Mercedes for his place next year. There was not way he could ever defend the move from Ricciardo. He had an ailing car he couldn’t control. It was very funny for Mercedes to ‘give the position to Ricciardo’. For a start Ricciardo never had it! Bottas fell on him because his car was undriveable. What is worse, Bottas knew this

12

People keep mentioning the “Bottas hold position” radio call. They gave them one lap to fight it out, Lewis one that and then to avoid a situation were they take each other out a gift the race to Ferrari they were told to hold position. Somehow Bottas was not good enough to be infront of Lewis at that point despite start far further up the grid. Bottas need to take responsibility for his own race and be sure that he is ahead of Lewis. It’s probably now too late for Bottas in the championship and will probably now be forced to help Lewis, but it is mostly of his own doing.

13

Talking about wingmen – Think Sainz deserves a performance bonus from Mercedes for his great wingmanship at the Hungaring – Ignoring 9 blue flags before letting Vettel pass was quite a feat !

I won’t go into the usual debate about inconsistent stewardship of the F1 Sporting Regulations as we all know it’s regulated ad-hoc to whatever suits the day and taste.

Precedense was Gutierrez on Hamilton, Hungaring 2016.

14

As I have mentioned before, I work on the rules and I am a steward for another motorsports discipline. There is inconsistent F1 stewarding because stewards are individuals and there are different stewards at each event, each interpreting the rules to their understanding. Several people can witness the same event and still describe it differently. People can read same words and give different interpretations on what those words mean. It is the same thing with stewards. F1 should have the same stewards working all events. Or give them better training so they all interpret the rules the same way.

15

Yes, wingman. And also a nice enough guy to get away with a slap on the wrist for taking out two drivers, back to back. No race ban for him, not even a cute nickname like Botcrash or Crashtas. Making him even more suited for the role.

To be fair, I don’t think he made that mess trying to be a wingman. Maybe people telling him to be more agressive got on his nerves. Anyway, it’s a shame, because he’s one of the few drivers that still looks like an actual human being. You can listen to him without cringing.

16

He didn’t take out two drivers, he took out zero drivers.

17

I’ll rephrase: he crashed into two drivers.

18

You can call him a Bothead.

19
Tornillo Amarillo

Bottas’ Sweet dreams are made of this…

“Some of them want to use you

Some of them want to get used by you

Some of them want to abuse you

Some of them want to be abused.”

The Wingman word is just an idea (a bad one for everyone), but Bottas blocking and crashing was pathetic.

Bottas didn’t complain or challenge the team on the radio, example about gaps or tires life. It’s his fault.

Bottas has to do the TALK ON TRACK from now on or he would turn crazy.

He just has to follow his plan, be on pole and win races now with a great car and then be ready to challenge for the WDC in 2019, and not trust unconditionally his team from now on… Not an easy challenge.

He should build to be the successful champion who pushes Hamilton to retirement …or nothing.

20

@TA….How does the ‘wingman’ put that plan into action? He is not in control..the team are. They devise the strategy and call the shots. He tried and succeeded in defying their order to give the place back to Ricciardo and he was sanctioned for it plus he’d most likely get a severe bollocking in the debrief and If he didn’t get one he should’ve.

21
Tornillo Amarillo

If he doesn’t have a plan, he should make one, because in the plan of Hamilton or the team’s plan he will get just crumbs.

22

Let’s face it, this season is all about Hamilton vs Vettel in what is shaping up to be one of the best fights for the drivers championship in quite a while and that means both Bottas and Raikonnen are going to be Hamilton and Vettels wingmen. They are both in this position because neither of them are quite good enough to be leading the team. Ferrari have always had a long history of favouring one driver in the team and if Mercedes want to have any chance of competing they will have to do the same especially since it currently appears that Ferrari is the faster car (although I expect that to keep swinging back and forth for the rest of the season).

23

Who are you trying to fool Toto? You have clearly relegated Bottas to number 2 status. Bringing him in so early meant his only hope if being competitive would have been a 2 stop strategy. They kept him out when they realised he could hold up Vettel which means he wasn’t given the chance to chase Hamilton. That’s not letting the drivers race. Had they put him on a two stop strategy he probably would have dropped behind Vettel but he may have got a podium and the top 4 would have been much closer.

24

Jmr74. They kept him out because if he had pitted he wiuld have been jumped by both Ferraris and finished fourth if they had pitted him again. Not pitting meant keeping track position and a good chance of second.

25

Pitting him just after Raikkonens 2nd stop would have given him 3rd place for sure.

26

James Allison has discussed this. The team saw 2nd place as a possibility and 4th place as the worst case if they did this, so they took a risk to get second.

27

Biff, second would have involved Valterri overtaking Vettel on circuit, highly unlikely.

28

Hansb, not sure at all. Kimi was right behind Valterri before he made his second stop on lap 38, his pace improved by a second a lap after he pitted, there’s a good chance Kimi could have undercut him in one lap, any kind of problem in Valterri’s stop and Kimi is definitely through.

The only thing we can say for sure about the two strop strategy for Bottas is that it would have removed any chance he had of keeping second place.

29

Hansb, Not sure how certain it is that 16.5 would be enough, they run around 12 seconds off the pace under the vsc. still forfeits second though.

30

Yes, a safe pitstop while at full racing speed would be with a gap of about 21s. At VSC, 16.5s would be more than enough.

31

Hansb. The virtual safety car was on lap 50, the gap between Valterri and Kimi was 16.454 seconds at that point, is that enough to make a stop under vsc conditions? I’m not sure. I am sure that he would have lost a position to Vettel though, and by staying out he had a chance of staying ahead of him.

32

Pitting Bottas while VSC was deployed…

33

With the season only half way and the PU allowance this year being what it is, surely it’s still a little premature to suggest it’s now a 2 horse race?!

Granted it’s unlikely but with so many races left anything could happen.

Bottas could possibly find himself WDC at season end so Toto is quite rightly keeping him in the right mindset.

I thought he drove superbly and was very unfairly penalized for the Danny Ric tangle.

34

No one has ever come back from being down by over 3 race wins, to beat their teammate to a WDC. Bottas and Kimi are both out of the running, and will play wingmen to Lewis and Seb respectively, for the rest of the year.

35

Bottas will not be WDC this season! Doubtful any other season either. He talks the talk, but that’s it. Better than Kovalainen, worse than Rosberg.

36

We must not keep Rosberg in this he won WDC and left on his high! But crertain thing is that WDC wasn’t come with team orders some call that luck some called destiny but team wish cretainly not the reason he won WDC he deserves respect.

37

It may be a bit off point, but the penalty Bottas received is excessive.

Vet and Kimi can each crash into a Merc but Bottas drew penalty points and a 10 sec penalty. Makes Vettels 5 sec penalty for punting Bottas to the back of the field in France look a bit limp.

All we need is consistency.

38

I’m not sure what you mean?

Bottas crashed into Vettel and received no punishment at all, not even a 5 sec penalty nor penalty points.

39

Bottas is 81 points behind the championship leader, Hamilton. He could win the next three races, with Hamilton and Vettel crashing out each time, and *still* not be leading.

He and Mercedes need to face the fact that he cannot win the title this year, and for the rest of 2018 needs to play a supporting role.

40

It was never a problem to be designated a “wingman” to cover the number one driver. This type of situation has always been justified by a “Teamwork”. What has been unfair is the pressure of the media and the different treatment they have had in general depending on who was the number one driver. Lewis Hamilton’s career is very simple:

1) As a teenager sponsored by Dennis

2) 2007 preseason. English press: “Shumacher’s successor”

3) 2007. Enter McLaren with Fernando Alonso

4) Monaco GP 2007 HAM bitterly complains about his team because they say they treat him like number 2

5) Ron Dennis takes action on Hamilton’s complaints and says they will be fair from that moment on.

6) Hungary 2007: Alonso takes the law into his own hands and the FIA gets involved in a team’s internal problem, sanctioning the Spaniard who, thanks to the media lobby (English like the team and the driver and the F1) makes him the official villain (Mega lobby pressure on the Spanniard: ALO is faster than you, “undeserved WDC”, etc).

7) 2008. Hamilton beats Massa for WDC and Kovalainen will talk about unfair treatment of the team. Absolute silence in the media

8) Ecclestone uses Hamilton as an example of a good F1 product

9) Ecclestone talks to Hamilton and advises him to

10) Mercedes signs Hamilton in

11) Mercedes is the dominant car

12) Hamilton wins two more WDCs

13) Rosberg wins Hamilton a WDC and starts his philosophical complaints about the team

14) Mercedes signs’wingman’ Bottas

15) No pressure on Hamilton, the driver who complains the most when in his dominant car there are any setbacks or complaints, nor are there any campaigns against his actions. On the contrary, their complaints are causing the media to put pressure on the Mercedes team and their treatment of Hamilton.

Conclusion:

Hamilton has much more than a wingman.

– He’s got a number two pilot at his service.

– He’s got a media lobby behind him from the start.

– He had Ecclestone supporting him as a paradigmatic example of the F1 brand.

– He had the FIA make decisions like rescuing him with a crane in a GP.

– He had the FOM avoid repetitions of irregular actions that prevented him from being sanctioned.

– After a timely English media campaign, the rules have been adapted so that Hamilton could receive the necessary therapy at the wheel of his engineer-coach via radio.

As JustaBrit has rightly said, Lewis Hamilton is a massive brand in the F1 business.

To have one or more wingman you need to be a great product, not the best F1 driver.

41

I love the fact that you’re so cut up by the crane thing, even though it was totally legal and didn’t actually gain Hamilton any points.

42

@sergio Haha, nice try. Hats off on the bait job, but I’m gonna pass on this one. Too much salt in one post.

43

Lewis has a whole legion of F1 fans who are still butt hurt about their god Alonzo getting beat by rookie. They always bring up the McLaren “favoritism”. They forget that since that season Alonzo has gone from bad to worse, to an afterthought. Lewis is just fast, all the drivers have the same opportunity as Lewis, they just can’t drive as fast. Get over it Sergio, the hate comes through your words and lack of objectivity

44

Just like your LHFC response you mean?

45

My what?

46

Sergio – how about objectivity? I’m sick of these posts that repeatedly have Vettel/Hamilton bias. It’s like little children in the school yard.

47

Facts are objective in themselves, opinions are always subjective. It’s logical that the greatest F1 product has a legion of supporters defending him at all cost and I respect that. Please, respect my point of view but above all, if you get sick from facts you don’t like or opinions, I recommend that you never go to a forum. I can understand that it would be more comfortable to remove the messages that bother you, but there are many F1 fans who know the facts and think like me precisely because they want a driver to be good not because of politics or media pressure but because of all his potential inside a car. I will always think that Hamilton is extraordinarily fast but very weak mentally and in need of outside help. All of this is an opinion.

48

Sergio. The most successful driver on the grid is ‘mentally weak’? Doubt it.

49

I hope you feel better after all that.

So who’s the best driver Sergio? Alonso? If so, did Ferrari dump him because they thought Vettel was a better product?

50

Sergio, that’s an extremely selective view of Lewis’ career. He has the backing of the British press, in the same way that Fernando does with the Spanish press and Max does with the Dutch. This is natural and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, or be used to criticise the driver in question.

Lewis’ patronage by Dennis and subsequent signing, and re signing by Mercedes had nothing to do with press lobbying or Bernie, it was all about his talent level, if another more talented driver was around, he would have taken Lewis’ place no matter where he came from.

Special treatment from the FIA? That’s clearly nonsense, what about Spa 08, or when he got a reprimand for reversing 50cm down the pit lane because an FIA official asked him to? What about Spain 2012 when he lost his pole position and likely race win because the team had fuelled him incorrectly? Are these ‘soft’ punishments?

Fernando made himself the villain in Hungary 07, his very public blocking of Lewis in qualifying, and subsequent laughably false statement to the stewards all led to that image.

51

Alonso at Hungary 2007 – lied to the stewards – got demoted on the grid.

Hamilton at Australia 2009 – lied to the stewards – got disqualified.

Funny how that little gem didn’t make it into Sergio’s objective analysis.

52

Hmm… Not saying the British press was all that influential in absolute terms, but your treating the Spanish and Dutch press on an equal footing is not accurate. Organisationally and team-wise, F1 has been a British sport. Now the Americans have moved in, not the Spanish or Dutch. In addition everyone in charge reads English on the Internet, no one reads Spanish or Dutch except for a couple of translated paper headlines. So some British press bias probably exists in the realm of F1 decision making.

53

Lemwill, maybe the guys in charge do see more stuff about Lewis, but do you really think it makes any difference to the decisions they make? There is simply no evidence of that to be found anywhere.

54

Lemwill, I take your point, but can’t see how it would make any difference. A lot of the stewards aren’t from the UK.

55

TimWw *)
Wasn’t saying that. The influence may be marginal or even subconscious, but if it’s there it’s British.
*) hint, not a typo

56

While I do think Hamilton is one of the best or maybe the best current F1 driver, I also agree on a lot of points with Sergio.

The fact you have to go back to ‘08 (!!) or ‘12 to find mediocre counter arguments says it all.

And since Hamilton is driving AMG Mercedes you will have difficulty finding anything against the statement of the FIA being somewhat supportive to him and his team.

57

Some of Sergio’s evidence goes back to before Hamilton had turned a wheel in F1, but 2012 is too far ago? Fair enough.

58

Hansb. What points do you agree on? Sergio doesn’t seem to want to explain himself, so maybe you can help him out?

Lewis got a penalty at the Hungarian grand prix in 2015 for causing a collision, the reversing in the pit lane incident occured in 2016 and he got a 5 second penalty for going too slowly behind the safety car last year. I don’t think the FIA are any stricter or lenient with Lewis than anyone else, surely the onus is on the accuser to prove his accusation? Feel free.

59

HansB. Lewis went off curcuit in Mexico and rejoined. The drivers have always been allowed to do this, they just can’t gain a lasting advantage from doing it, in the case of a driver gaining, or failing to lose a position, he is given an opportunity to let the other guy through in order to avoid a penalty. By the same token a driver who gains a time advantage is given an opportunity to lift off and relinquish the gained time, Lewis did this and his telemetry clearly showed him lifting, no driver on the grid would have been penalised for doing what Lewis did that day, it’s interesting that you cite Verstappen as an example, he doesn’t drive for Mercedes.

The other points you raise about the teams asking questions to the FIA about the legality of their rivals developments is a story as old as F1, it doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t remember any team doing better or worse out of it than any of the others.

60

As I said, I’m not as strong on this one as Sergio but I do feel there is a tendency of “the English” against Ferrari.

In the Schumacher times, one could argue the FIA was on their side. Famous one with the bardge boards being not according to the rules.

But times have changed and, because I’m not English nor Italian, I think I’m rather unbiased in this but feel free to counter.

The famous 2016 Mexican GP comes to mind.

At the start Lewis runs through the grass gaining huge advantage were he should have had a disadvantage because he made an unforced mistake by himself. On other tracks he would have to rejoin somewhere in the middle of the track but the lay out makes it possible to rejoin further up. But that in itself doesn’t make it legal.

So Lewis instead drove through the grass, cutting the circuit and gaining some 5 secs in the process.

Now what if drivers cut corners randomly wherever it possible to gain advantage?

In the same race, Verstappen while under pressure of Vettel, makes sort of the same mistake at the same spot, gaining advantage and not letting Vettel past.

In MotoGP this would quickly lead to a forced position change but MV/RB choose not do do so, for laps we could see he was effectively helping DR to catch up. In MotoGP he would have been black flagged.

This led to the infamous Vettel rant at CW.

While leaving (just) enough space for Ricciardo, Vettel was punished for his defending. But adequate reactions from the race stewards would have never triggered this situation in the first place.

Then what bothers me too is the incompetence of the FIA

I do understand teams can ask about legality of the competitions solution.

Why did Ferrari have to ask so many simple questions about the semi active suspension on the Mercedes and Redbull before finally it was forbidden (without rule changing needed at that time)? Some directives came in to make an end to it full stop.

It’s up to the FIA to see that everyone is acting within the rules not the competition in the first place.

I also don’t understand why they keep answering questions from Mercedes on the Ferrari PU.

It’s legal or it isn’t, nothing inbetween. So if the FIA says it’s legal why did they have to sit down again with Mercedes engineers on this at Hockenheim behind closed doors?

Everyone knows what kind of game Mercedes is trying to play, why collaborate?

I could go on and on but in the end I guess it is everyone has their own opinion on these matters.

61

You have a very selective memory.

62

Being selective or not, no one driver has the same chances as HAM has

63

But they do. They just have to be fast. He is, they aren’t. That’s it. All the opportunity he has stem from his talent and hard work.

64

There’s no doubt who the better driver is at Mercedes, team orders or not. Bottas is a very good driver but he’s nowhere close to Hamilton so to expect to be given equal status is naive. He’s never really gone wheel to wheel with Hamilton unlike Nico Rosberg. For all his faults I think Rosberg was better than Bottas is now. F1 is a team sport first and an individual sport second so I’m afraid unless Bottas pulls out some stunning drives in the second half of the season he will inevitably be called upon to be Hamilton’s wingman. An 80 point deficit will be all but impossible for him to make up unless Hamilton has multiple DNFs.

65

Now all the contracts have been signed. Lewis should regularly be 0.3secs ahead of Wingman on pace.

We will all see Lewis “stepping” up his game in the second half of the season. When infact he was stepping down his game in the first half, relative to his teammate.

Vettle will do the same if the other Finnish Wingman is resigned.

66

@Hello I’m lost, are you insinuating lewis drove slower, ensuring bottas get’s another year? If so, wow the King is more magnanimous than i thought. #teamlh

67

Hello, was Lewis not already ‘regularly 0.3 ahead of Bottas’?

68

No not regularly. That’s why everyone has been saying Bottas has been driving well.

He won’t be driving well any more. But don’t fret, it means Lewis will get quicker.

69

Hello, Valterri has been driving well, just not as well as Lewis.

70

Now that Bottas has no real prospects of winning the WDC himself his job description is to assist Lewis who can win it by, for example, holding the Ferrari’s at bay in Hungary thereby allowing Lewis to build a race winning lead. Call it “wingman” or whatever you like but that’s his job for the remaining races.

71

Oh come on! Of course he is the second driver, in fact worse, he is expendable. Its such a shame that Lewis is such an unpopular drama queen. “Love conquers all”??…No Lewis it’s all about the money, dear.

72

Let the hate flow through you. Better out than in. Not amount of grandstanding with change your lies into truths.

73

Ha ha, yeah Lewis is really umpopular!!

74

James, I feel you are doing an injustice to Bottas and your readers hinting of the wingman position in the last two races since signing. Any team manager would have made the call to hold station regardless of who was in front in a home race where you didn’t expect to be 1-2 and that should be highlighted. The Hungary race was such that merc were again capitalizing on position they shouldn’t have been in and bottas was not in a position to fight Lewis. All sides of the story story be in the table. Personally I am hoping for a win for Bottas as he has been driving really well and deserve more than his points reflect.

75

@ Kurik…Do you really believe that if the positions were reversed in Germany that Hamilton would’ve been told to ‘hold station’. In a pig’s ear….. Yes, according to Wolff they’re free to race just so long as Hamilton is always in front.

76

you were spot on!

hamilton prayed for rain and he got it.

77

More wild speculation Kenneth? What this site really needs is someone to read everyone’s comments and tell them off if what they are saying came purely from their own imagination……

78

I remember Hamilton allowing Bottas to retake a place in the past. All we can do is speculate.

79

@ Aezy Doc… careful there medicine man. Bottas couldn’t make the pass and Hamilton couldn’t get past Bottas so the team asked him to move over. He did and Hamilton couldn’t do the business either so he was obliged to give the place back. People have lauded him for ‘doing the right thing etc etc etc.’ and how sporting it was of him to graciously return the favor but It wasn’t his place to give back in the first instance!!

80

Wingman saga for bottas……indeed a supreb driver

81
Michael Kiburi

Don’t know if it’s been tried before anywhere, but there probably should be a rule that states drivers must lap within 1sec of their personal best. If they are unable to do this for 3 consecutive laps, then they have to come in for new tyres.

82

Traffic? Tactics? Pampering any other part of the car besides tyres, like the engine?

83

Why? That makes zero sense in the context of a GP.

84

sometimes the truth seeps out

(like when you eat too mach ‘suicide’ wings, and drink to much skanky beer, a little truth may come out, when you cough or sneeze, or… whenever )

Maybe it shouldn’t just go away?!

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