Bottas Just Isn't Cutting It
Let's debate it, but I'm not sure it is hard
Valtteri Bottas, is in his fourth season at Mercedes, but it seems this year he is coming under more stick than ever. Is it justified? Hear me out, it actually is.
Botta's career in Formula 1 started back in 2013 with Williams Racing. Other the span of fourth season he took nine podiums in a more competitive Williams alongside Felipe Massa. However, come 2017 he would leave as Nico Rosberg shockingly retired from Formula 1.
His time at Mercedes has come with a lot of different opinions. From him being brilliant to him not being good at all. But 2020 has been the sticking season, the one that has 100% raised the most questions surrounding whether he is good enough to be at Mercedes.
Let's look over the stats of Bottas at his time at Mercedes. During the four seasons, he has taken eight wins, the first at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. Thriteen pole positons and at Mercedes he has taken forty-two podium positions.
First off the bat, these are not bad, no these are pretty good. But the problem of them arises when you compare the to Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel. Granted the three listed drivers all play the number one role at the team. But Verstappen and Vettel did not do not have the level of machinery which Bottas had available to him.
He has not had a real stand out season. Not that I expect him to because his teammate has looked unstoppable since 2017. But you look down his years and they do not stand out because in the likes of 2018 he finished in fifth. Of course, Mercedes still won but in such a good car you expect to finish higher.
The 2020 Season
The season started with what I label, the "Revolving Door of Bottas", he took a brilliant win in Austria. In one hell of a good race, which saw so much happen. But this is what he did in 2019. He won the first race and then struggled against his teammate. And this is the revolving door of Bottas.
It is well known that Bottas is driving one beast of a car, in the W11. Which is ever dominate, despite this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.
I think the interest in Bottas' position arose at the 2020 Formula 1 British Grand Prix. Now, first off we need to address that he got unlucky. His tyre blew up, in Ferrari 2017 style. But then so did his teammates.
The issue was Bottas then pitted for new rubber and could not even overtake Vettel in the clown car of the SF1000. This is when engine modes were still allowed so it brought up questions as to why he couldn't do it.
It then occurred that Bottas was not beating Verstappen. Verstappen, this season has really been showing his skill as a driver. The RB16, is maybe the second or third best car on the grid. He has been driving it into constant second places.
Verses Bottas, who sits in a dominate Mercedes and is taking third place. Not that third is bad, it just seems bad, in comparison to Hamilton who is winning with a thirty-second gap. Hamilton shows how to dominate the car can be, while Bottas does not.
From my view, there is a slight sense that Bottas is afraid to overtake Verstappen, they have had a couple of battles and it had just always seemed in favour of the Dutchman.
Speaking of overtaking, this weekend, what do you have to say Bottas?
Let me put it simply, you were crap.
He had a dismal start and fell quickly back, which Hamilton looked like he was checking out. The McLaren cars overtook him very quickly. He never seemed to be able to get back on terms with the team in a slower car. Yes, Bottas may have had damage but nobody is 100% sure if it is true.
To make things worse for Bottas, who already had a bad race. His teammate fell to the back due to a penalty. Then his teammate managed to overtake his way into seventh. Only two places back from Bottas who finished in fifth.
The Italian Grand Prix, was one of those weekends, where you have to capitalise on the problems of your title rivals. Which both Verstappen and Hamilton had trouble. But Bottas failed to anything. He could not overtake anyone, well he did overtake one person and it was Kimi Raikkonen in his fading Alfa Romeo.
It is odd, but I will drop this in since Bottas signed his year extension with Mercedes. He has just looked off. He has been nowhere near Hamilton and has not really been getting at Verstappen.
However, He is Doing his Job
But, and there is one. Bottas is employed, whether he likes it or not, as a number two driver. He is employed to back up the title and bring home the points he can. Is Bottas' form going to stop Mercedes winning the title? No.
It is just a case of we expect the Mercedes cars to be finishing in 1-2.
Bottas, since he arrived has done what is needed of him. He has helped Hamilton secure victories cite the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. He has been able to take second places and sometimes he has capitalised on mistakes and troubles of others.
That is why he is continually given an extension because he is doing exactly what Mercedes need him to do. He is coming home in the points and a lot of the time on the podium.
There Just Could Be Someone Else
Yes he does what he needs. But it slightly can feel for fans, the seat at the best team in F1 is wasted on an average driver. As I have written before, George Russell would be a fine candidiate to sit in the car. I feel he just has that extra thing. But I am not here to talk about that today.
I just felt it was a needed mention of how there is a feeling of someone else could take the seat.
Bottas is just an average driver and this season is serving that. He just has not got that Nico Rosberg quality to beat Hamilton. He doesn't seem to have the bravery of Verstappen or the speed of Hamilton.
As I said he is doing his job which he is employed to do.
But for us fans sometimes just want a bit more of a title fight, even if it does just fall at Hamilton's feet eventually. We would like 2017, 2018 season to happen again even if it is two teammates against each other.