Lauda: Mercedes must make car "easier" for Bottas

Niki Lauda says Mercedes must make its Formula 1 car easier for Valtteri Bottas to drive, following the Finn’s slump in form since the August summer break.

Lauda: Mercedes must make car "easier" for Bottas
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers parade
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 makes a pitstop
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Bottas won two grands prix during the first part of the F1 season, but hasn’t out-qualified teammate Lewis Hamilton since July’s Hungarian GP, and endured another difficult time at last weekend’s US Grand Prix – qualifying nearly half a second adrift before finishing a distant fifth.

Bottas has delivered flashes of pace and some strong stints in races since August, but has struggled for consistency compared to Hamilton, and Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda said it was up to the team to make its car easier to drive on the limit.

“It’s difficult for him, because the car is very difficult to drive,” Lauda said. “Lewis can handle it better, and Valtteri has difficulties.

“If you give him an easy car to drive, and the way he likes the car, then he will be right there again.

“It’s against his driving style the way our car, at the moment performs - even Lewis sometimes complains about how difficult it is to drive. Nevertheless, he can still win, thank God.

“The pressure is on us to make it easier.”

Lauda reckons Hamilton is also the best driver on the grid, which compounds the difficulties for Bottas.

“He’s the best, very simple,” Lauda added. “He’s always been good, and now it’s even better.

“I think he’s the quickest guy anyway today. If you compare him with all the others, he’s one, two tenths quicker than everybody else.”

Bottas: Car and driver need work

Bottas showed strong pace at times during the Austin race, but struggled with tyre management amid some frenetic battling with Ferrari and Red Bull.

He thinks he needs to further adapt his driving style to get the most from the car, as well as refining its set-up.

“Honestly I think it’s both,” he said. “Always as a driver you need to adapt to the car you are driving, but there’s also been a couple of weekends this year that Lewis has been struggling with similar issues and dropping out of the [performance] window.

“I feel there is definite progress - I feel from every struggle I will always learn something.

“The set-up is still not as I want - we can change the set-up of the car to be better balanced and nicer to drive, but then it’s slower.

“We need to make a compromise and that’s something I’ve found more difficult this year.

“We know, as a team, the issues we have - the car is not so easy to drive and it’s difficult to set up, and also, from the team side, there’s things we can do better for the new car.”

 

shares
comments
Analysis: Why Hartley’s F1 debut was so impressive

Previous article

Analysis: Why Hartley’s F1 debut was so impressive

Next article

Untold story: When Schumacher met Villeneuve in the bar after Jerez '97

Untold story: When Schumacher met Villeneuve in the bar after Jerez '97
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021