Ex-F1 Driver Levels Major Accusations Towards Valtteri Bottas

Published 10/06/2021, 3:01 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas reacts after qualifying in second position REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok sat down with the ‘Fast Lane’ podcast to discuss the road to the championship for Mercedes and Red Bull. As a result, in discussing Valtteri Bottas’ role as the Mercedes second driver, Chandhok had some hot takes on his recent races; especially after the announcement of Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo.

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Karun Chandhok looked at Zandvoort and Sochi. “Ever since it’s been announced that he’s gone … Sochi to me was Valtteri’s weakest race of the year. He started 16th ahead of Max and Leclerc and there’s a point in the race, just before the rain came down, he was 14th; and he started in a Mercedes and basically let Max through as well. “

Analyzing the Finn’s racing, Chandhok said, “that’s the sign of a guy who’s checked out.”

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While Bottas got to the podium in Monza and rightfully won the sprint race, the Russian GP move was unexpected. Bottas is known for being a king of the Autodrom; expectations were high despite him being pushed back to 15th in a ‘strategic’ move.

Is Chandhok on the money with his analysis? With 16 rounds of the season, Bottas is yet to win a race. With the remaining 7 likely to favor Hamilton’s champion run, will team orders botch Bottas till the end?

Chandhok also said that the psychological aspect of the game plays a crucial role. “His qualifying performances tell you that clearly there’s a lot of speed in there but mentally, he’s unfortunately just checked out.”

Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez in their roles

The lack of defense against Verstappen was zilch in Sochi, surprising everyone. However, even if Bottas has “checked out” of his second-man role in Mercedes , repeatedly, he’s proved to be the perfect teammate to Lewis Hamilton.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021. Mercedes ‘Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position for the sprint qualifying with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in second position REUTERS / Massimo Pinca

Chandhok mentioned this as well, as he looked at Perez’s performance this season. As the second driver at Red Bull , the team relies on Czech for strategic placements in order to push for more points in both championships. However, when the action is in the top three positions of the race, Sergio Perez is seldom nearby.

The Indian commented, “the only two races he’s did play that role was Baku and France. I don’t think the rest of the races he’s ever been close enough to get in the mixture to create those strategic difficulties for Mercedes, which is what Red Bull wanted to do. “

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Both drivers have driven spectacular races this season; Checo is in his debut season with the big team, while Bottas is leaving it for a smaller one. The juxtaposition of the situation also contributes to how rarely the second drivers have played a strategic role in the races.

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As things get tighter at the top of the board, the closer we get to the end of the season. Questions that are left for the next seven rounds remain- Will Bottas win before leaving Mercedes? Will Perez step up on the podium this season? And, who will win the championship?

Watch this story: Most Controversial Turkish GP Moments of All-Time Feat Vettel-Webber F1 Crash

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Shreya Sanjeev

447 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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