The next time Hamilton is frickin’ inside his helmet, Bottas won’t put himself in the way. The Finnish driver seems much more passive than his predecessor, and has admitted that he will always aim to put the team before himself.
Team orders in the Mercedes garage might mean more this season than last, they look to have a fight on their hands against Ferrari, so contesting every point is going to count. It’s not only about the driver standings either. If the consensus that the team have a better engine than the Mercedes this season is true, and holds out further than the opening few races, then we’re in for a tense Constructors battle at the top.
When you look at the driver line-ups, it’s almost autonomous to compare Vettel against Hamilton and then Raikkonen against Bottas. Let’s face it, both teams have an unofficial number one driver. Lewis Hamilton should be more aware of his teammate than Vettel is of Kimi at Ferrari though. The relentless nature in which Bottas reeled in his teammate was quite unexpected, and should give him confidence in the upcoming races.
Regarding the potential scenario in which both Mercedes drivers are close together on track, Bottas said,
“We have made it clear from the beginning that Lewis and I get to race in every situation. Only if there are different tactics or a problem, then perhaps the team will give an order. But in general we are allowed to race, as long as it is done honestly and without colliding with each other. Our philosophy is that we are racing, and that’s how it should be.”
– Valtteri Bottas
The Finnish driver was impressive in his debut race, but admits that there’s time to find in qualifying. At Albert Park, Bottas was three-tenths behind Hamilton’s pole-sitting time, and the Finn was less than a tenth-of-a-second off of Vettel’s time. With overtaking appearing to be more difficult in 2017, qualifying and the race start have become much more important. If Bottas had been slightly quicker in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix and locked Ferrari out of the front row, the race might have turned out differently for Mercedes.