Felipe Massa says his former teammate Valtteri Bottas must capitalise on his first win to continue to beat Lewis Hamilton in order to prevent himself from becoming the teams supporting act in the future
Massa believes that Sebastian Vettel is currently the only serious challenger to Lewis Hamilton for this years world title, despite Bottas’s brilliant performance in Russia. He feels that if Bottas does not carry on beating Hamilton then he could be forced to play a supporting role to his teammate as is most likely with Kimi Raikkonen to Vettel this year. Massa though believes Bottas is more than capable of continuously taking the fight to Hamilton.
“I don’t see that it’s impossible for Valtteri to fight with him. To be able to fight with Lewis, now is the right time. If he’s after the championship, now he has to improve. If you see Kimi, he will work for Sebastian for the whole championship. It’s clear. If you have another team that is fighting for the championship and you have a driver that is more than 20 points behind, he will need to do the same. So now is the time [for Bottas]. If he wants to fight with Lewis he needs to win another race here, he needs to score more points than Lewis now. Then the team cannot do anything.”
Hamilton had a dreadful weekend in Russia but now believes he understands why that was the case. Likewise with Bottas, he believes he has learnt himself from being ahead of his teammate and says it is not just down to naturally being very quick around the Sochi track.
“In F1 if you’re quick in many cases it’s all about small things. I’ve always felt comfortable in Sochi, but it’s not down just to that. I feel I’ve been progressing race by race, I felt Russia was my best weekend so far this year in terms of my own performance, no matter about the track. I’ve looked into every single thing from Russia – what I can do better and what I did good and so on – and I do understand all of the points why there was a difference. I’ll try to keep good momentum out of that.”
– Valtteri Bottas
Bottas will start the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix in 3rd, on the second row behind Hamilton and Vettel. It was the position that he started in in Sochi, a similar start could see him leading into the first corner. It is traditionally very difficult to overtake at the Circuit de Catalunya,