Former F1 Driver Blames Valtteri Bottas for Letting Max Verstappen Overtake Lewis Hamilton

Published 12/24/2021, 9:13 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after retiring from the race REUTERS/David W Cerny


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was indeed one of the few races in 2021 where Mercedes desperately needed Valtteri Bottas to jump into action. Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes were hanging in the balance and the entire team was counting on the services of the Finnish driver.

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Yet, he was nowhere to be seen in the 2-hour race. One can blame Michael Masi for the 7-time world champion’s failed pursuit of a record-breaking eighth. But former F1 driver, Marc Surer, isn’t too keen on taking that side and is rather adamant that Bottas’ poor race cost Hamilton the title.

What did the ex-F1 driver say?

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Speaking to Formel1, Surer opined that Bottas’ race couldn’t have gone any worse in Abu Dhabi considering the fact that he couldn’t edge past Verstappen despite the Red Bull driver pitting twice more than him. Had Bottas ended up ahead of Verstappen on the penultimate lap of the race, he could’ve helped his teammate secure the title.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship with the Netherlands flag on the podium as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton looks on after finishing second REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Under normal circumstances, Bottas should have been in second position by the time Max Verstappen pitted to fit new tires during the safety car period. So Max would not have gotten it,” he said.

Overtaking two cars in one lap would not have been possible, but the reality is that Bottas was nowhere to be found,” the Swiss driver added.

Watch Story: Mad Max: Verstappen’s Angriest Rants on Team Radio

Valtteri Bottas is a losing driver in traffic: Surer

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The 70-year-old also said that Bottas is one of the poorest drivers while driving in traffic. Despite having a car that was over a second quicker than the others, the Finn failed to make any kind of progress in terms of the track position.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Bottas is really a losing driver in traffic. He always gets stuck and finds it incredibly difficult to pass. The guy just can’t pass. To other cars that are more than a second slower than the fastest car on the grid. That is their weakness,” Surer concluded.

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Overall, many expected Bottas to end his Mercedes stint with a flourish. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be. But the season is now over, and a new journey is awaiting Bottas at the beginning of next year with Alfa Romeo Racing. Will Bottas be able to regain his real racing prowess with the Sauber-led outfit?

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Rohit Kumar

1662 articles

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.

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