Jolyon Palmer hinted at Valtteri Bottas costing Lewis Hamilton the title, saying that he was nowhere when the team needed him at Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton had a record-breaking eighth world title snatched away from him in the dying moments of the Abu Dhabi GP. While that is entirely on the FIA, his fight would have been way easier had Bottas been up there in the top four.
The Finn only qualified sixth-fastest overall, and that left Hamilton fighting a 1v2 against the Red Bulls. He still managed to beat both of them until the shambolic decision from the FIA cost him his race.
Palmer hinted at Bottas costing Hamilton the title, and said that had he been in the running for a podium, Max Verstappen would have never won the championship.
Speaking on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, Palmer said, “Bottas had a shocker.
“Now, did that cost Hamilton the title? If Bottas is within a pit-stop window of Verstappen, Verstappen is not having ‘free’ stops willy nilly.
“A great driver for the team for so many years, his last race he went missing and it meant Verstappen had a ‘free’ stop at the Virtual Safety Car, ‘free’ stop at the Safety Car.”
“If you’ve got another Mercedes there within 23 seconds of him, in a car that’s quicker with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel, he can’t do it and Hamilton is the champion,” he explained.
“Bottas has been solid but when it counted, he couldn’t help his team-mate, and (Sergio) Perez did everything he possibly could, and he was in contention to do so.”
While Perez helped Verstappen deal with Hamilton by holding him up for a long time, Bottas was nowhere close to the action. Had he been, we may have been looking at eight-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.