Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Monza, 2018

Bottas says helping Hamilton didn’t compromise his result

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says his Italian Grand Prix strategy wasn’t compromised by the role he played in helping Lewis Hamilton overtake Kimi Raikkonen.

Mercedes left Bottas out for long enough in his first stint that after race leader Kimi Raikkonen pitted he caught the Mercedes. Bottas spent around seven laps in front of Raikkonen, which allowed Hamilton to catch the Ferrari and made it harder for Raikkonen to preserve his tyres.

After Bottas pitted Raikkonen’s deteriorating tyres eventually allowed Hamilton to pass him to win.

Bottas said the team had considered the various race scenarios before the start and concluded that running a long first stint made “minimal difference” to their total race time.

“It wasn’t like I was really sacrificing my race as long I was keeping Kimi behind,” he explained. “If he overtook me then for sure I would lose time.”

Although Bottas conceded that “maybe a little bit earlier would have been ideal for me to stop” he said he was “happy to do it because for me I knew I would still get a chance to attack Verstappen.”

“So I think it didn’t compromise my result, it was all good.”

Bottas was classified ahead of Verstappen after the Red Bull driver was given a five-second time penalty for a collision between the pair.

Mercedes previously indicated they would consider imposing team orders after Sunday’s race. Bottas is 97 points behind his championship-leading team mate with 175 available.

“Honestly the points difference between me and Lewis is now very big so I’m willing to co-operate when it makes sense,” he said. “We’re here as a team and we need to be realistic. The team wants to win both titles.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 29 comments on “Bottas says helping Hamilton didn’t compromise his result”

    1. It could have potentially left him fourth rather than third but the 7 points gained from the win was better for the team than that 3 point difference of that result anyway.

      I’m not sure Hamilton needed it for the win though it did make it easier. If they really wanted to outright sacrifice him he would have dropped back and blocked Raikkonen after his pitstop, they still let Bottas keep to a decent strategy.

      1. They could have asked Bottas to back Vettel 5sec behind Verstappen when the penalty was given but maybe difficult to orchestrate.

        He was not going to finish 1st or 2nd so he didn’t lose anything on the finishing sheet.

        1. Good idea! But Wolff can read and adopt proposal!

    2. He got lucky. Bottas had a poor weekend, didn’t managed to overtake Max in a car that was clearly better suited to Monza, the only relevant thing he did was help Hamilton by slowing down Kimi’s pace and making him destroy his tyres.

      The Mercedes’ tacticts at the end did not influence his result, but were far from ideal, he should have pitted sooner and only got the podium due to Max’s penalty, which was a bit of a stretch in my opinion. They even almost managed to bring Vettel into contention again. Not to forget as well that he got promoted to that position due to Vettel’s mistake at the start, and had Ricciardo not been relegated to the back of the grid he would have been in the fight as well.

      No need to pretend you are not Valtteri, we all know your job, and that is to be the wingman, today the result masked it, but next time you won’t be so lucky. It’s the curse of the Finns

      1. I think you are missing the fact that Verstappen made him lose over 5 seconds. He wat catching incredibly fast after he pitted. Was’t ollowing close for long. That pass could have been possible if it wasn’t for Verstappen. And if it wasn’t for Verstappen, Bottas won’t have had to catch up again using his peak of his tyre performance. While he didn’t get past in the first stint, without the contact, it is very unlikely he wn’t have managed if it wasn’t for what Verstappen did. His qualifying was poor. His start wasnt the best, but the rest of the race was solid.

    3. I really really liked Hamilton this weekend .He reminded me of Senna.
      Vettel should get he’s act together. He think he can still win this C.
      Ferrari are quite naive compared to Toto , he’s one sneaky school principal .I think Ferrari should be more brutal with kimi and tell him you’re here only to support Vettel .And tell Vettel that if he can’t restrain himself from this kind of first lap aggressive stance he’s out .Letting Kimi win is romantic nonsense Ferrari is a business and that’s what they should do if they ant to still win this year.

      1. It’s a difficult balance though. If they want Raikkonen useful, he needs to be motivated. Sure he could have towed Vettel in qualifying. But if he ends up 3rd or 4th on the grid, he’s not much use at the start and minimal use at best later. Add to that the prospect of being swapped for Leclerc, taking away his chance of podiums would leave him driving with little incentive, especially after Vettel’s sardonic comments about Raikkonen ‘being allowed’ to win because he got (read: got helped by him) to pole.

    4. I wonder what the story would be if Mercedes had not used Bottas as a road block and Kimi goes ahead and won the race.
      Im sure most on here would be lamenting on how bad the Mercedes strategy team is.

      1. Kimi probably ruined his tires when he drove too hard after his pit stop. When hamilton came out from pits he was no where near kimi which proves it. Kimi pushed too hard on his new tires and took too much out of them which left him very little to work with when he needed the grip later. Maybe kimi needed to save more fuel too leaving him vulnerable on the straights. Hamilton just needed to wait until his tire advantage grew big enough and then make a move. It is hard to know if it was kimi’s own fault or ferrari telling kimi to push when he didn’t need to though.

        1. What happened to teams not being allowed telling their drivers how to drive?

          1. @lebz You’re confusing when to do something with how to do something.

          2. Well, team orders were banned after the Ferrari podium debacle of Schumacher and Barichello in Austria.

            Then team orders were reinstated after “Alonso is faster than you” in Germany.

            Then driver coaching was banned in 2016, with increasing orders of idiocy, until they decided that was a bad idea and rescinded the ban.

            I think however, there’s still an unwritten rule against coaching the driver in terms of “use a lower gear in turn 4 and brake 50 meters later” during the race.

      2. Possibly. In reality, I think Kimi’s tires were too badly mangled. Ferrari was warning him to stay off curbs the last few laps.

        And yeah– If Mercedes had thrown away the opportunity Ferrari gave them with Vettel’s kamikaze move and Kimi’s early pit stop, the fans would rightly be criticizing Mercedes.

    5. You could probably, I might say, not have compromised your run. A closer look is needed to see if you really did not compromise. Now what has really been compromised, in my opinion, is that we are not a top rider, and the commitment accepted with these strategies relegates him to a second driver position for any team. So what is actually compromised is your ability to someday be top reference driver.

      1. @trindade

        He had compromised his race well before the start as he was off the pace all weekend. That alone has compromised his ability to someday be a top reference driver.

    6. is that we are not a top rider

      wrong sport!

      I will just take my jacket and leave

    7. I guess he’s right..the only difference was that he earned a hard fought third place when he could have got an easy third place….thanks to Merc, we had some great racing between Max and VB, except the part where former used the latter as a barge board.

    8. He was not compromised in any way. He was stuck behind Verstappen at the start and had dropped a long way back from Hamilton and Raikkonen. MV stopped before he did and was going to still be ahead after Bottas stopped for tyres. The only viable option was to extend his relative good pace on the and attack with much fresher tyres.
      Even without Bottas Hamilton would have caught Kimi but but passing him would have been near the final laps.
      That would have been even more demoralising for the Tifosi.

      1. But can’t say he had a particular good weekend. Well off the pace. Stuck behind a RB. Judgement error when they touched (which stands on itself, no matter who was to blame). There was space on the left. Instead he risked a DNF. Not sure how his future will be.

        1. If Bottas risked a DNF by overtaking Verstappen, then Hamilton risked a DNF overtaking Kimi. Only Kimi didn’t defend in an over aggressive manner. A bit of a silly comment. Verstappen was in the wrong, not Bottas as the penalty and penalty points clarify.

          Bottas was off the pace in qualifying through out most of it, but actually looked reasonable on his final lap (did the fastest middle sector of any driver). But in the race, he finished less that 15 seconds behind Hamilton. And then you need to take in the fact that he lost over 5 seconds when Verstappen contacted him. He also could have affected his tyres there too. Meaning that he couldn’t. Without this contact, he could well have got past Verstappen and started to close in on Kimi. He likely will have finished in under 10 seconds behind Hamilton. If you consider the help he gave Hamilton and that the gap will have been quite a bit smaller, you can’t exactly imply Bottas’s race was poor.

          Verstappen did have a better start than him, but Bottas was certainly not well off the pace on race day. I think Red Bull were clearly set up for the race rather than qualifying (where they were far behind) which may explain why Verstappen wasn’t really that much slower than the leaders as well as managing to keep Bottas behind. In order to help Hamilton in the same way he did, there is only one thing he could have done better, and that was to get a better start than Verstappen. Other than that, his race day looked very good to me.

    9. Such a shame Alonso left Ferrari, he would probably be leading the championship by now.

      1. Yeah, that’s very likely. Vettel not in the same league. But Ferrari are so well in being in their own way, its almost an art

        1. Such a shame Alonso could not overtake Petrov in a much slower car, he would have won that championship! Such a shame he did not manage to win when in 2012 when he had a great car (crashing and getting stuck in the sand all on his own.) Such a shame Alonso did not manage to even beat Hamilton in his rookie year. I have no idea what makes you guys so sure Alonso would be better than Seb. How do you know he would not have been even a more divisive figure after 2014? How do you know he would obtain better results in qualifying than Seb which these days is key? How do you know he hasn’t gotten worse and slower with time? Alonso left Ferrari of his own will. He said he did not want to fight for second places anymore and went to McLaren to #makehistory. So, really, it is completely pointless and wrong to try and diminish Seb by falsely claiming that Alonso would do a better job in Ferrari.

          1. +1000. I am by no means a Seb fan, but the Alonso nostalgia is quite sickening. The guy has only had top tier team mates in 3 seasons of his entire F1 career- and of those, he was beaten in 2. He is a good driver, but comeon he is not a league above Vettel and Hamilton, if he is in their league at all at this point in his career.

    10. Good point s Bottas did help Hamitton. But what if the shoe was on the other foot. Would Hamitton help Bottas win the WC. I don’t think so , as much as I like Ham he is a bit ME ME. All it needs now is Bottas to get on par with Ham and be leadin the WC next year. Then we can see how much a team player Ham is.

      1. There is no proof other than the fact that in Hungary last year, Ham handed over 3rd place back to Bottas when he couldn’t pas Kimi, and then he was behind in the WDC points. That is fact.
        Any other thoughts are just conjecture.

    11. Rob, are not all world champions or winners a bit selfish, would you have expected Schumi, Senna, Alonso including Vettel, assist their racing mate to win a championship, Vettel even mugged his Australian race mate for a win few years back, for which he apologized in tears and later un-apologized, so why should Hamilton be different.

      1. Fair point. But don’t they all have the same drive to win. Or are they told your No 1 or 2 No 1 must win that must be hard for no 2

    12. Here is a question for everyone. If we agree Bottas didn’t compromise his result, is it still team orders to compromise Kimi’s result or not?

    Comments are closed.