“Bottas Was Actually More Helpful to Verstappen Than Hamilton” – Palmer

Published 05/12/2021, 11:02 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas before the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Valtteri Bottas has an enviable and unenviable position at the same time. While he’s currently driving the most dominant car on the grid, he also has the mammoth task of being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.

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Even though he has occasionally outperformed the entire grid, he has mostly played to Lewis, helping the Briton clinch the race win, and by extension, the championship.

However, the Spanish Grand Prix signaled a saturation point for the Finn. Despite team orders, Bottas didn’t let Lewis pass him easily. In fact, he even offered a bit of resistance to the Briton. A former F1 driver highlighted how this could have benefitted Max Verstappen and cost Hamilton valuable time.

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Valtteri Bottas cost his teammate more time: Palmer

Although Hamilton went on to win the race, Bottas slowed the defending champion’s progress down. According to former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer, he cost his teammate time to catch Verstappen, which aided the Dutchman.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference with second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and third placed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Palmer wrote“The lap where Hamilton was held up behind Bottas cost him just under a second and a half in lap time, or effectively one lap of catching Verstappen at that stage.

“You could argue Bottas was actually more helpful to Verstappen than Hamilton in the Grand Prix.”

He also pointed out Perez’s response to the same message given by Red Bull. He wrote, “Before Verstappen even got close enough to think about a legitimate overtaking attempt, Perez backed off on the run up to Turn 10 and let Verstappen through.

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Is there a storm brewing at Mercedes?

If Spain was any sort of signal for things to come, we could see a battle brewing within Mercedes. With Bottas recently stating that he wasn’t here to “let people by,” there’s a possibility that Bottas will shed the ‘wingman’ tag this season.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after qualifying in pole position with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who finished in third position REUTERS/Emilio Morenatti

At the moment, the championship battle is clearly between Hamilton and Verstappen. Bottas and Perez are currently carrying second driver roles, with the former doing a better job so far.

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However, things could change if the Finn can step up his game and take the fight to Max and Lewis. Although it’s not Mercedes‘ strongest track, the Monaco Grand Prix gives Bottas the chance to bounce back in the season. Can the Silver Arrows hold it together in the streets of Monaco?

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Sanket Nair

610 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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