Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer slammed Valtteri Bottas for his bizarre decision-making at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Bottas’ is in a strange position in his career. He drives the best car on the grid, but always plays second fiddle to teammate Lewis Hamilton. Even though he’s had his share of victories, his role at Mercedes seems to be a passive one.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, Bottas did something that attracted criticism. Despite team orders, Bottas didn’t let his teammate pass him without resistance. Although Hamilton ended up winning the race, Bottas had slowed him down.
According to Joylon Palmer, Bottas’ actions aided Hamilton’s title rival Max Verstappen. By defying team orders, Bottas slowed Hamilton’s progress down.
“The lap where Hamilton was held up behind Bottas cost him just under a second and a half in lap time, or effectively one lap of catching Verstappen at that stage,” Palmer wrote. “You could argue Bottas was actually more helpful to Verstappen than Hamilton in the Grand Prix.”
He compared Bottas’ actions to those of Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, and praised the Mexican for his unselfish drive.
“Before Verstappen even got close enough to think about a legitimate overtaking attempt, Perez backed off on the run up to Turn 10 and let Verstappen through,” he remarked.
Bottas recently stated that he wasn’t at Mercedes “to let people by”. Maybe Spain was a wake-up call for the Finn, who might just shed his #2 tag at Mercedes.
At this point in the season, Hamilton and Verstappen are in the running for the WDC. Bottas has been largely out of the title picture, but has the car and the talent to challenge for it.
If Bottas starts posing a challenge to Verstappen and teammate Hamilton, it would be a treat to watch. His chance to do so begins at the Monaco Grand Prix.