Opinion | Bottas needs a miracle to keep his seat at Mercedes

04-03-2021 07:30
Opinion | Bottas needs a miracle to keep his seat at Mercedes

With a new contract for Lewis Hamilton and the new W12 on display to the public, it's time for Mercedes to take a look at 2021. Mercedes are chasing an eighth world title, the same is true for Hamilton, where Valtteri Bottas will mainly fight to keep his seat at Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton

For the past seven years, Lewis Hamilton has been the king of Formula 1. While he was already known as the overtaking king in his time at McLaren and managed to win at least once every year, after 2008 he never managed to really compete for the title. In 2010 he came close, but the title went to Sebastian Vettel.

His choice to switch to Mercedes in 2013 turned out to be well worth it. He had a challenging teammate with Nico Rosberg but fought to his second and third title in 2014 and 2015. Rosberg hit back in 2016, but that cost him so much energy that he immediately decided to quit Formula 1 after his title in 2016.

It shows the strength of Hamilton, who has since been unapproachable to his teammate, but also to the competition. It hurt Hamilton to lose to Rosberg but learned his lesson from it. A lesson that has cost Bottas dear, because no matter what the Finn tries, he just doesn't come close. An eighth world title for Hamilton, therefore, seems inevitable.

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas is too sweet for Hamilton in that regard. Rosberg was also no faster than Hamilton, but with clever tricks, he shook Lewis and eventually won the title. It may not have gotten everyone's approval, but that's going to be a concern for Rosberg right now with the title on his mantelpiece.

Bottas will have to find that "egde" to beat Hamilton, or at least keep his job. In 2020, Bottas again turned out to be a neat second fiddle, but with a contract from George Russell expiring and his substitution in Sakhir in 2020, Valtteri must perform very well to have a seat at Mercedes in 2022.

Bottas has proved of tremendous value to Mercedes in recent years. He was fast enough to occasionally win something but never got in the way of his leader. With Russell, the dynamics within the team will of course change, but Mercedes can hardly leave him on the side for another year. Bottas only seems to be able to keep a title at Mercedes.

Forecast for 2021

In that respect, the prediction for 2021 is not very difficult to make. Bottas may be getting off to a good start, but once he gets going, Lewis is unstoppable. Take the fact that Red Bull Racing is getting closer, and with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez now has two drivers who are considered capable of making it difficult for Valtteri.

In that situation, Bottas has not excelled in recent years. When Verstappen comes close, everyone already knows that the Finn will ultimately be the victim, and during Sakhir's GP, Russell also outwitted him. Add to that Sergio Perez in 2021, and it could be a very difficult year for Bottas.

Hamilton is going to win this battle with flying colors, and it will depend on Red Bull how close Bottas will be. If Red Bull can really take a step compared to last season, Verstappen and Perez might finish ahead of Bottas. Then the curtain has really fallen for Bottas, and he must hope that Lewis will stop and that he can play second fiddle to Russell.

This article was written and originally published by Tim on the Dutch edition of GPblog.com.

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