After a lacklustre 2018 season, 2019 started with a bang for Valtteri Bottas. Eventually, he finished as the runner-up to teammate Lewis Hamilton, something that critics were quick to pounce on.
Former Red Bull driver, Mark Webber, was of the opinion that the Finn lacks any “hunger” and “fight” in wheel-to-wheel action. According to the Australian, this absence of killer instinct is holding Bottas back from challenging for the title.
In spite of a few wins under his belt, he ended up 87 points behind reigning champion Lewis Hamilton.
While it is undeniable that Valtteri Bottas has been in fine form, there is still some key elements missing. Webber surmised that “hunger” and “fight” in “wheel-to-wheel” combat are those missing ingredients.
Speaking to Channel 4, Webber explained: “It’s been a tough season for Valtteri. Ferrari were meant to come out of the blocks after winter testing, it didn’t happen, and Mercedes came out of the blocks and were very strong.”
“Then we had the resurgence of Ferrari in the middle of the year, and again Lewis just showed his experience in dealing with that hot kitchen when Ferrari did arrive.”
“Bottas in terms of wheel-to-wheel, that hunger that fight, going down swinging, often we still miss a bit of that with Valtteri.”
“Lewis has put the masterclass on everyone, Leclerc arrived with a couple of uppercuts, Seb [Vettel] with a couple of uppercuts, he’s just picked them off one by one. Over the season his stamina levels are extraordinary.”
Meanwhile, another former F1 driver, David Coulthard opened up on Bottas’ declaration that he ‘has a plan to challenge Hamilton next season. He confessed that Valtteri Bottas is fast and can learn a lot and adapt himself next season.
Coulthard highlighted the need to out-qualify Lewis, and do it on a consistent basis, as well as out-race him.