Valtteri Bottas has been struggling to keep up with his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, over the course of this season. Hence, now that Lewis won’t be a threat to him in Bahrain, one might assume that Bottas would step up to the opportunity and bag the top step considering he won’t be under pressure from the Briton.
However, there could be a new form of threat looming over Bottas at the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix, and that is George Russell. Although Russell is yet to experience the W11, he is still capable of giving Bottas a tough time.
Speaking about Russell’s potential threat, Bottas opened up that he never thought about the scenario of Russell beating him and added that he has no idea what to expect from Russell.
During the Sakhir GP press conference, the interviewer asked Bottas how the results would reflect on his career if Russell manages to beat him in Bahrain.
“Quite a punchy question,” Bottas replied with a chuckle. “I haven’t really thought about it. It’s difficult to know like what to expect from George in terms of performance…
“If I have to give some kind of answer, I say if he beats me, yeah, it wouldn’t look so good on me if I have a normal race and if he beats me fair and square. So, obviously, I’ll try to avoid that.”
Bottas has been giving Lewis a hard time during qualifying sessions. However, in recent times, he has failed to get a good start to the race, leaving him stranded around much slower cars.
The Finn looked pretty calm during the press conference, showing no visible signs of concern about Russell being his teammate. He pointed out the fact that Russell, despite being a part of Mercedes for years, is yet to take the W11 for a stroll.
“He knows the team well. But also, it’s a different car that he’s been testing and lots of new things,” he said. Hence, the uncertainty could give Bottas an upper hand going into the weekend.
However, the Finn will still be wary of the Williams driver finding his form with the Mercedes, and make him look like a driver playing second fiddle in the Silver Arrows, yet again.
Overall, can Bottas keep himself ahead of Russell? Or will this weekend turn out to be the beginning of the end for Bottas’ relationship with Mercedes?