May 4 - Valtteri Bottas appears to be "lacking some confidence" as his teammate and Max Verstappen race away at the top of the drivers' standings in 2021.

That is the view of former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, as he assesses why Bottas has not only fallen behind Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen but even McLaren's Lando Norris.

Late in Sunday's Portimao race, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff made the rare decision to personally contact the Finnish driver over radio as the Finn chased Verstappen.

"Hunt him down Valtteri - you are the quicker car," Wolff told him.

Wolff admitted the radio call may not have been his wisest decision.

"He was really catching up. He was hunting him down," he said. "But when I came on the radio, it kind of flat-lined. So maybe I won't do that anymore."

When asked why he thinks Bottas struggles to compete with Hamilton or Verstappen, Russian driver Sirotkin answered: "It's hard to guess what it is.

"But I wouldn't emphasise the personal side - a driver approaches every fight the same way and it doesn't matter who it is against," he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.

"Looking from the outside, I would say Bottas lacks some confidence compared to Hamilton and Verstappen.

"In a race you always set priorities - do you defend position or think about the longer term? Perhaps Bottas plays a little too safe. He doesn't have that knife-edge approach - either all-in fully or be more conservative.

"It always seems to be a bit in between with him," Sirotkin added.

"Verstappen and Hamilton have much less doubt. They can fight without ruining their tyres, and they can also be conservative and avoid a fight in order to strike later."

Another obvious factor is that Wolff is clearly weighing up whether to keep Bottas for the new regulations in 2022 or replace him with George Russell.

For now, Wolff is backing his current driver.

"It could have worked out for Valtteri, so we continue to push and support him. Next time in Barcelona we will see what he is capable of," he said.


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8 F1 Fan comments on “Bottas still lacking confidence for current title fight?

  1. f1award

    Be amazed if bottas gets a merc next year, I guess that's the problem with having a far superior team mate, he's never been a wingman either as he's usually to far behind.

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    • Kacper

      He's not usually too far behind, he was just behind Lewis last year. On Sunday he was the fastest man on hards, without sensor issue he would have been second.

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      • f1award

        You're kidding right, 2020 Ham beat him by 120 points despite having covid, 2019 90 points and 160 points in 2018. To put 2018 into perspective Hamilton needed had started the last 6 races and still beaten bottas in the same car. Oh and all cars have issues in every race.

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  2. ReallyOldRacer

    If HAM wins 100 races and his 8th WDC it is more likely that he will leave racing and BOT will be paired with RUS in 2022. If HAM stays it makes no sense to upset the team balance.

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