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Brawn: Bottas only flaw in Mercedes' 2018 campaign

  • 29 Nov 2018 11:35
  • comments 13
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Formula 1's sporting boss Ross Brawn says that Valtteri Bottas was the only flaw in Mercedes' season. The Silver Arrows wrapped up both championships once again for the fifth consecutive year, despite receiving a heightened challenge from Ferrari.

Bottas' teammate Lewis Hamilton picked up 11 victories throughout the year on his way to his fifth championship, matching his personal record that he set in the 2014 season. The Briton was matched by Sebastian Vettel in the early stages of the year, but pulled away as the season wore on.

Bottas failed to pick up a win in any of the 21 races, coming close in China, Azerbaijan and Great Britain. At the Russian Grand Prix, the Finn was leading before Hamilton was let through under team orders.

Speaking about Mercedes' season, Brawn said: "The only slight flaw, if there can be one in a season like this, was the performance of Valtteri Bottas, who had a difficult season, plagued by bad luck.

“Valtteri had some opportunities to win, but either through misfortune, as in Baku, or due to the occasional, understandable, decision by the team to maximise the result for the benefit of both championships he didn’t manage it.
 The result [was] that he seemed rather out of sorts by the end of the campaign.”

Brawn hailed Mercedes' determination to win, praising the fact it didn't get complacent against Ferrari: “When you win so much and for so long, it is very easy to fall into the trap of complacency,” he acknowledged.

“It’s almost inevitable but can be avoided by consistently raising the bar. Only Ferrari in the Schumacher era has won more than five titles in a row and I had the honour of being technical director of the team when they managed six.

“I recall that every year we were aware that for the following season, we would be starting again from zero, aware that just because we had been strong before, it didn’t automatically translate into an advantage of fractions of a second, because in Formula 1, you can never stop.

“That’s what the team run by Toto Wolff was able to do - avoid panic when it realised that it was not enough to be perfect to beat Ferrari but that more effort would be required than had initially been envisaged.”


Replies (13)

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  • Convenienyly forgetting that Bottas could've won at least once this year, probably twice, had it not been for Merc' doing what they actually DID(!!!) to Bottas. Bottas wasnt the flaw, as much as their underprioritisation of him.

    • + 2
    • Nov 29 2018 - 11:40
    • While it is true that Bottas could have won one of those races without team orders (Baku wasn't team orders), I think it's disingenuous to suggest that Bottas was at the same level he was last year. Not even in terms of raw pace, but making unforced errors. If you were to tell me that Bottas was brought it as a hard #2 driver who isn't allowed to win races, the sure. But he's won races. He's finished ahead of Lewis. Team orders haven't been applied in every situation. So I put the blame largely on Bottas. I'll concede that after Russia he might have been demoralized. But the fact remains that he wasn't any worse in terms of performance after Russia. It was an overall mediocre year.

      • + 0
      • Nov 29 2018 - 17:01
    • Im not suggesting he is on the same level, but I am however pointing out that he wasnt the issue this year.

      • + 0
      • Nov 29 2018 - 18:18
    • So what are you suggesting the issue was? I thought your point was that Bottas was not allowed to fight.

      • + 0
      • Nov 29 2018 - 21:03
  • mcbhargav

    Posts: 955

    Wow, life as a second driver is not that rosy, even in a constructers winning team. He was better off in his Williams.

    • + 1
    • Nov 29 2018 - 14:41
  • Bottas should join another team asap, being goldenboy's 'wingman' is doing his career no good whatsoever. Although Toto is to blame mainly, I can accept team orders when it's needed like in the last 2-3 races but they did it when it certainly was not needed. They shafted him for no good reason.

    • + 0
    • Nov 29 2018 - 15:24
  • xoya

    Posts: 359

    Bottas should drive his ass off next year and win the wdc, then leave Mercedes immediately (Rosberg style) or he is done. Else, who would want him as a driver? Overpriced number 2 with no winning mentality. :/

    • + 0
    • Nov 29 2018 - 18:05
    • Thats kinda what I start feel too. Except he isnt that horribly overpriced. But he really need to just say screw team orders next year when it comes to switching to Hammy every time it makes Toto feel good.

      • + 1
      • Nov 29 2018 - 19:48
    • I think Bottas' value is well known now. Not top tier, but just barely outside of it. He can be either a solid #2 driver for a top team, or a leader for a midfield team. Maybe he could shine like Raikkonen did with Lotus and increase his stock. But right now, he's just a #2. Not quite as pathetic as Massa, Barrichello, or Raikkonen* were at Ferrari. But he's working his way there.

      *Ok Raikkonen was not embarrassing this year, but he was on every other year of his second stint with Ferrari

      • + 0
      • Nov 29 2018 - 21:06
    • mcbhargav

      Posts: 955

      Bottas has nothing to loose next year, to say 'screw team orders'. The way i see it, Ocon is joining Merc. in 2020. So, Bottas needs to add some wins and show some overtaking prowess to his potential employers like Williams, Force India, Haas....

      • + 1
      • Nov 29 2018 - 22:48
    • I think you're right. But I'm not convinced that Ocon is the one to replace Bottas. I rate Ocon and Bottas around the same. Both have good raw pace, but when it comes to racecraft and consistency both are lacking. Pérez beat Ocon two years in a row in terms of overall performance/points. Qualifying is the only place where he whooped Pérez. I think there are plenty of more talented juniors and seniors ahead of Ocon.

      • + 1
      • Nov 30 2018 - 02:39
    • Kean

      Posts: 494

      I donno… I personally rate Ocon higher than Bottas. He outqualified Perez 16-5, the only drivers to have better qualistat against their teammates were Alonso, Vettel and Leclerc. And Ocon managed that against Perez, whom I rate higher than Vandoorne, Räikkönen and Ericsson. So I think Ocon has raw pace equal to the top drivers. He has, however, gotten himself into silly situations during the race, much like Verstappen has in the past. I think if Ocon learns to keep a cool head his racecraft will improve. Race stat Ocon vs. Perez was 10-11 (DNF 5-2). Points diff: 13, but a large portion of that points diff comes from when Perez managed a podium in Baku when 7 cars DNF including Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Ocon. And Vettel only managed fourth because of a bad strategy from Ferrari. So if I was Bottas I’d be worried about being replaced, and if he doesn’t start looking out for himself rather than the team he’ll have a hard time getting hired if he is replaced.

      • + 0
      • Nov 30 2018 - 10:10
  • sadosalo

    Posts: 198

    In 2019 Bottas has to fight from race # 1 in Australia to make a statement, why not being the # 1 driver at Mercedes? He Valtteri has to earn it, as Lewis is not the best ever, he could not beat Rosberg, Alonso or Button without inside intrigues, bitching, struggles and fighting outside the tarmac, putting his head bit girly on Ron Dennis shoulder several times to thank him. Lewis cant stand the heat as we have seen in the past he gets nasty. And yes he Valtteri was not allowed to fight for sake of the team, we talk later Valtteri says Toto, C'mon. Bottas be a man, Ocon the baguette is not going to replace you with all his weaknesses, peanut brain and irritating smile when he is wrong, just not good enough for Mercedes. Go Ferrari, Renault or RBR 2019 as 5 years of unfair advantages from FIA should end, we the race fans cant wait to 2021 its boring racing and killing F1 as we have less spectators every year watching the procession.

    • + 0
    • Nov 30 2018 - 22:59

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