Added Pressure of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell Affecting Valtteri Bottas, Claims Former Teammate

Published 04/27/2021, 2:36 AM EDT
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – AUGUST 02: Valterri Bottas of Mercedes and Finland during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on August 02, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)


Without a doubt, coming into the 2021 F1 season, Mercedes were the favorite to dominate. However, in the past two races, Lewis Hamilton has been flying the flag alone. Unfortunately, poor old Valtteri Bottas has been floundering in the championship.

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To make matters worse, his coming together with George Russell at Imola has not helped matters. In fact, former teammate Felipe Massa believes that it could affect the Finn’s chances of retaining his Mercedes seat.

Why is Valtteri Bottas struggling to match Lewis Hamilton?

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Although Bottas has insisted that he wants to compete with his teammate, a serious challenge has never really materialized for him. Now, his challenge is slowly fizzling out, and Max Verstappen is taking his place.

”It’s a mental thing. It is not easy to fight with a champion like Hamilton. The same goes for Vettel. They are both in a difficult situation and then Bottas also has to live with Russell who keeps chasing him,” Massa told Gazzetta. (Quotes translated from Italian using Google)

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in third place Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

“George is very strong, even though he made a mistake in Imola. He deserves a chance and I hope Mercedes will give it sooner or later. I liked the fact that he apologized for his mistake. That is a sign of maturity, that he dares to admit such a mistake.”

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Of course, it may be too early to judge the Finn’s performance in 2021. However, he needs to buck up and pick up the pace in the next few races. In past seasons, Bottas has proven that he can fight for wins and winning races. However, he has to have some confidence in himself.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in action during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Considering that George Russell could be gunning for his seat in 2022, it is all the more important for him to perform. There is also the fact that there is a chance that Bottas and Russell could be teammates. If or when Hamilton decides to hang up his boots, Russell will definitely be a part of Mercedes’ plans. So, Bottas and Russell do need to get along and avoid a repeat of what happened at Imola.

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DIVE DEEPER

‘Most of the Drivers’ Blamed George Russell for Crash With Bottas in Imola: Former F1 Champion

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Dhruv George

11383 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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