Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Debate: Can Bottas stay in the championship hunt?

Has Valtteri Bottas' start to the season been enough for people to classify him as a championship contender?

Debate: Can Bottas stay in the championship hunt?

Valtteri Bottas took his second win of 2019 despite the late-race pressure from team-mate Lewis Hamilton to retake the lead in the drivers' championship by just a single point. 

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix proved to be a hard-fought victory for the Finn, who resisted the intimidation from his five-time world champion team-mate and secured the win that eluded him twelve months earlier.

Bottas' ability to keep cool despite the closing gap was a vital 'one up' over Hamilton, and it was the Briton who made the minor error on the penultimate lap to all-but-decide the fate of the race.

The Finn was also firm and fair in his defence of the lead at the start. With a slightly better start, Hamilton seemed destined to take the lead into turn one, but measured driving around the outside of turns one and two gave Bottas the necessary traction to maintain the lead.

If his Australian Grand Prix win was considered a one-off, was the Azerbaijan Grand Prix the race where Bottas could be considered a 2019 drivers' championship contender?

Listen: Scott Mitchell joins Edd Straw to review the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Can Bottas deliver on Hamilton's 'form' tracks?

It's tough to find circuits that could be labelled as unsuccessful for Hamilton and, whilst Bottas knows there are tracks in the calendar where he has the upper hand over his team-mate, the next few venues will be indicative in proving whether or not he can be involved in a season-long battle for the championship.

Hamilton has the historical advantage over Bottas at Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying and finishing ahead of the Finn in 2017 and 2018, taking the win on both occasions.

The two wins Hamilton has at the Monaco Grand Prix might not rival some of his more successful events, but it's a venue at which he's rarely looked weak. He had the advantage over Bottas at last year's race, but spent the majority of the 2017 race trying to make up for an out-of-place qualifying position.

Hamilton's lack of front-running pace at last year's Canadian Grand Prix came as a real surprise, given his affinity with the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve. Bottas will be hoping to repeat last year's feat of finishing ahead of the six-time Montreal winner and cement his championship credentials.

There may still be seventeen races to go, but if Bottas can start delivering results on 'Hamilton tracks', then he could well be the saving grace for the drivers' championship, should Ferrari fail to make up for lost ground.

Do you think Bottas can maintain a challenge for the drivers' championship? Leave your thoughts in the section below.

shares
comments
Wolff says four one-two finishes "flatter" Mercedes

Previous article

Wolff says four one-two finishes "flatter" Mercedes

Next article

Ricciardo "gutted" his "silly mistake" spoiled Renault recovery

Ricciardo "gutted" his "silly mistake" spoiled Renault recovery
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021
The essential quality Tsunoda has to harness better Prime

The essential quality Tsunoda has to harness better

A rapid ascent through the junior categories meant Yuki Tsunoda's arrival in Formula 1 was always going to be much-hyped. It's not been smooth sailing for Red Bull's latest protege so far, but his confidence has never wavered - something he'll need to rely on to continue his progress into the driver he believes he can be.

Formula 1
Apr 27, 2021