F1 Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has proven that he has what it takes to win with his new team – but will lightning strike twice in Austria?
Valtteri Bottas has proven beyond a doubt that he’s got what it takes to fight for Mercedes in the 2017 Formula One championship. The Finn has made an absolutely incredible transition to his new team, taking everything from the new car to the new crew in stride as he went on to win his first F1 Grand Prix in Sochi. Ever since then, Bottas has been a formidable presence out on the track, but has been unable to replicate his past success. That all may change.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) July 8, 2017
With Austria marking the second time that he’s secured the pole for himself at the start of the race, Bottas has a real chance of bringing home the win against Ferrari once again. With Hamilton taking a grid-place penalty that puts him in distant P8, Bottas will be carrying the weight of the team’s hopes with him, and the Silver Arrows’ race strategy reflects that.
Although some still believe that Hamilton is the star boy that Mercedes would throw themselves onto a sword for, the reality of it is that they would strap a rocket booster to the ass of Bottas’ car to ensure that he gets a race-winning start. Bottas spoke on the race strategy, emphasizing the importance of a good start for him and relegating Hamilton to an afterthought – though not before saying that Lewis can still fight a good round for points:
“We need to focus on trying to have a good start to the race and we need to win the race.
Lewis can fight back from where he is starting. If you start playing games it gets tricky, if the car behind gets DRS and the slipstream, then with just one mistake they can get the win.” – Valtteri Botttas
Hamilton himself echoed Bottas’ sentiment, saying that it would make no sense for his teammate to slow down and block the opposition for him in any way:
“It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down, so he will push as hard as he can to win the race. Valtteri has been quickest all weekend, so it’s not really in my mind at the moment.” – Lewis Hamilton
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 8, 2017
What will be interesting to see is whether Hamilton’s sentiment will carry over in a possible race where he’s caught his teammate. Mercedes have said that team orders are not something that they are willing to do, but should their highest championship-ranking driver be able to overtake his lower-ranking teammate, would the call come through? It’s a question that will most likely go unanswered, but that could pose a tough problem for Mercedes to answer should Bottas refuse to back away from his second F1 Grand Prix victory.