Valtteri Bottas Embraces Mercedes Meme: “We Are Sandbagging, Always in Testing”

Published 03/15/2021, 7:45 AM EDT
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP prepares to drive in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The pre-season testing is over for the 2021 season, but for Valtteri Bottas, it was different this year. The fans thought Mercedes would dominate the track once again, but it was the complete opposite.


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The number 77 joked about their performance, saying it was a tradition to sandbag their car, to give their rivals a sense of hope for the new season. He knows Mercedes will be on top again once the season begins.

The Silver Arrows also suffered from gear problems during the test. Their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Bottas, also had a hard time as they zipped around the track and found themselves on the gravel.


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Being asked if there was any more work left to do before the season starts, the Finn said that he believes in the team and his machinery and knows they will back to perform once the lights go out.

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE: Second place qualifier Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Valtteri Bottas has his faith in the team for the upcoming season

In an interview with Sky Sports as quoted by PlanetF1 he said, “Well, you know, we are sandbagging, always in testing, so that’s it. I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential [to win the title]”

He added. “I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt that we will work hard to find it somehow. I’m still not fully comfortable. We’ve been going forward.”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 13: Pole position qualifier Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 13, 2019 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“I think, with the set-up of the car and understanding of the car, and getting it to behave better, but still there is more work to do. From these busy few days, there’s lots of data that hopefully can help us to make the car faster when we race here,” Bottas concluded.

The Finn talks about the mental side of things as he prepares for the 2021 season

Bottas finished 2nd in the driver’s championship last season as his teammate Hamilton went on to win his seventh world title. He has admitted that he does put pressure on himself to do better and is prepared to take on the Knight in the upcoming championship.


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The Finnish driver said, “It’s important to switch off and important to disconnect. Many times when you step out from the sport for a couple of weeks, you start processing things and you realise things when you see the big picture and if I look at last year, yes there were races that I couldn’t affect, but then there were many races that I could have done a better job.”

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas after the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

As Bottas prepares for himself for the 2021 season, he knows it is the only chance to win the title since he runs out of a contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the year. Will the number 77 put an end to Lewis’s dominance on the track?


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Arpit Gomes

322 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.