Former Formula 1 driver Perry McCarthy launched a staunch defence of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, saying he is disrespected by fans.

Bottas spent five years as Sir Lewis Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes. Although he did have some individual success, he never won the world championship and was perceived as a wingman for Hamilton for most of his time there.

The stats also paint the Finn in a negative light. He was outqualified by Hamilton 72 times in 100 races. He also trailed his teammate by an average of over 50 points in the world championship standings in his time there.

However, McCarthy launched a staunch defence of Bottas, saying he was hardly the lacklustre driver many think he is.

“(There are) people out there who just say ‘oh well he’s got the best car plug him in and there you go and he’s up against (Valtteri) Bottas who’s no good, so he’s got it all covered,’” the former Top Gear ‘The Stig’ told Formula1News.co.uk.

“I don’t subscribe to any of that. But, you know, if you look at the criticism of Valtteri – how many times this last pole position by about two hundredths of a second?

Bottas admits choosing Alfa over Williams 'was not easy'
Bottas (pictured) is an underrated driver in the eyes of McCarthy. Source: f1i.com

“I’d say I’d settle for being two hundredths of a second slower than a seven-time world champion around a four-mile track.”

Bottastic

“Valtteri Bottas is a brilliantly fast racing driver,” he continued.

“Valtteri doesn’t seem to always make the best of a race though, and I think that is the criticism. He doesn’t seem to be able to overtake and find overtaking opportunities in the same manner as Max (Verstappen) as an example, or Lewis.

“But as far as pure speed is concerned, Valtteri is a great benchmark. It’d be great to see how he fares at Alfa Romeo actually.”

Read more: Zhou hails Bottas ahead of debut season – “No better option than to have him as your teammate”

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