Valtteri Bottas was signed by Mercedes in 2017, after Nico Rosberg decided to retire after winning the title in 2016. Bottas has consistently found himself among the top drivers in the recent four seasons, but he has not done enough to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the title.
Lewis Hamilton has won four consecutive championships as his teammate, Valtteri Bottas has often played second fiddle to him. Bottas finished second in the championship last season, whereas, Hamilton finished on the top with a huge lead.
Mika Hakkinen, former F1 driver believes that his former Finnish driver, Valtteri Bottas deserves much more credit for being a part of the successful Mercedes team, which has won seven consecutive constructors championships.
“I’m fascinated by what it takes to succeed in Formula 1,” Hakkinen wrote for the Spanish edition of Motorsport. “It’s one of the reasons why I follow the championship so closely. So when I see some of the unfair comments about Valtteri Bottas, it’s worth giving some perspective based on my own experience,” he added.
“I know what it’s like to go up against the greatest driver of a generation – in my case, Ayrton Senna – and to have worked with some very competitive team-mates throughout my career. From Johnny Herbert to Martin Brundle, Mark Blundell, Nigel Mansell and, of course, David Coulthard,” Hakkinen continued.
He has the most formidable competitor alongside him: Hakkinen on Bottas
Mika Hakkinen believes that at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas is driving alongside one of the greatest drivers in history, Lewis Hamilton. And as a result, Bottas gets unnecessarily criticized for failing to challenge the Briton.
Moreover, Hakkinen stated that having a better car does not guarantee success in Formula One, as one requires a lot of other factors to work in his direction.
“As Lewis’ team-mate, he has the most formidable competitor alongside him. It has been incredible to see how calm, controlled and determined Valtteri has been, how hard he has kept working despite the challenge and the easy criticism. He just concentrates on attacking every weekend as hard as he can, giving his best for the team,” said Hakkinen.
“There is a popular myth that winning grands prix is easy when you have the best car. That just goes to show you don’t understand the challenge. There is nothing easy about winning in F1, whether it’s 20 races for me or nine grands prix for Valtteri. It’s even harder when you have a multiple world champion next to you in the garage,” he added.