Does Valtteri Bottas Stand a Chance in Winning the 2021 F1 Title Amidst Threats From Hamilton and Verstappen?

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April 4, 2021 3:53 pm

F1 recently flagged off the 2021 season, as the opening race weekend witnessed drivers fighting hard to land under the spotlight. However, one driver was in the hiding the entire time despite being an essential part of the grid – Valtteri Bottas.

What’s shocking is that the present Bottas is looking entirely different from the driver that was once portraying some stellar on-track skills while racing for the Williams F1 team alongside Felipe Massa.

It definitely takes some effort to impress a dominant team like Mercedes, and the Finn managed to do that exactly. Eventually, when he joined the team, it looked like Lewis could finally end up under pressure from his teammate.

But the reality was far from the expectations.

The outcome of Bottas’ much-anticipated Mercedes move

It has been four years since Bottas switched to the Silver Arrows, and he is yet to win a title. Over almost every season, he manages to deliver a strong start at the Albert Park by beating his teammate. And subsequently, fans start believing that the real Bottas has finally arrived and can stop Lewis’s title run.

But the hype dies down very rapidly as F1 shifts to the following race weekends. By the time F1 arrives at the halfway point, Lewis would be in an almost uncatchable position, leaving Bottas with nothing but dissatisfaction.

Valterri Bottas of Mercedes and Finland during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

Furthermore, his fifth season at Mercedes has just begun and unfortunately, his hopes of winning the trophy have come further down quite drastically. Red Bull are looking much fierce than in the previous seasons, and so is Max Verstappen.

So, will the untimely circumstances around the 2021 F1 season mark Bottas’ final outing with the racing series?

Well, no. Not if he manages to win the championship from here on. It does sound a bit too far-fetched but isn’t impossible.

How the Bahrain GP panned out for Bottas

The Finn displayed quite a lot of struggles through the opening weekend despite driving a championship-worthy car. He was very evidently playing the secondary role to Lewis while the latter was busy fending off threats from the flying Dutchman.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

By the time the checkered flag was waved, Bottas was 37 seconds off his teammate and his rival, who fought each other to the line.

And ultimately, Bottas’ silence said it all. One could see the disappointment in his face after failing to bring his car home in P1.

Of course, it’s just the first race and there are still 22 such weekends left in the bag. Hence, it’s too early to judge a driver, especially someone who has been racing at the top for over four years now.

How Valtteri Bottas could steal the championship title from here

Valtteri Bottas recently finished his race in P3, and it definitely wasn’t a bad result. However, the problem is the gap he ended up developing between himself and the cars ahead.

A 37-second difference isn’t going to do any good for the Finn. Hence, over the upcoming weekends, Bottas will need to keep himself within the striking distance of the cars ahead, irrespective of his racing position.

This gives Mercedes the freedom to play with his strategy and hope for a better result; this bodes fairly well for them as Mercedes have been incredible with pit-stop calls in recent years.

Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff after the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Although Max joining the race for the title is bad news for Bottas, there is a silver lining to it. All these years, Lewis would develop a massive lead on the table, because none of the rivals possessed a car worthy enough to challenge the Mercedes. However, this year, we’ve finally got Red Bull.

Hence, Lewis and Max will most likely share the championship points with each other throughout the season, which will, hopefully, keep Bottas in the race.

Furthermore, considering both Lewis and Max are naturally very aggressive drivers, the chances of the two colliding with each other are quite high. And all Bottas needs to do is position himself well to capitalize on such fallouts.

Overall, Valtteri Bottas will need a tinge of luck apart from talent to strip the title away from pacy drivers like Lewis and Max.

So, can he announce himself as a surprising candidate for the title race over the upcoming weekend in Imola? Well, let’s hope so.

Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing. With his favorite track being Hockenheim and his favorite turn being Eau Rouge (Spa, Belgium), Rohit is a strong advocate for bringing back the pre-turbo-hybrid era V10 engines and their screams. Apart from being an author, Rohit is also a trained tennis player, having qualified for national tournaments. He has been a part of the Estilio Academy for over a decade.

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