Ex-F1 driver and BBC pundit Jolyon Palmer offered a scathing indictment of Valtteri Bottas’ performance in Baku, highlighting in particular the Finn’s “really poor” skills when racing wheel-to-wheel.
Bottas finished the Azerbaijan Grand Prix outside the points in 12th position and never looked like a serious contender for a top-ten finish.
The Finn, who qualified P10, was baffled by his car’s mediocre pace all weekend in Baku and could not offer a rational explanation for the shortfall which oddly spared Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
But Palmer also pointed to Bottas’ “poor” wheel-to-wheel racing skills that just don’t allow him to move forward whenever he’s engulfed in the midfield.
“He was stuck behind Lando Norris, but on the same strategy, same power unit, in a car that Hamilton was certainly a lot quicker than the McLaren in,” said Palmer on F1’s ‘Chequered Flag’ podcast.
“Bottas in wheel-to-wheel, every single time you see it, he is really poor at wheel-to-wheel fighting.
“You put him in the midfield with a bunch of cars around him, he will not go forwards. At best he will hold position, probably he will go backwards.”
Palmer didn’t hold back, and castigated Bottas for the Mercedes driver’s clear lack of aggression.
“Can you remember a good overtake of Bottas’? You struggle to think of overtakes that Bottas does. He is in the midfield and he stays in the midfield.
“Or, he just gets shuffled down. The restart that he had was a little bit like the start he had in Monza last year, where he started at the front and at every corner just got shuffled down.
“In the end, he beat Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, Hamilton who did a U-turn in the run-off area, and Latifi who had a stop/go penalty.”
Read also: Bottas confused by ‘really weird’ pace deficit in Baku
Palmer said the inevitable comparison between Hamilton and Bottas in Baku highlighted the strength of the former and the weakness of the latter.
“Bottas was just a midfielder all weekend,” added the former Renault F1 driver.
“Hamilton turned it on, and to be fair to him when you compare his weekend with Bottas’, he was absolutely magical throughout the weekend.
“If you are comparing team-mates, Hamilton was looking like Lewis Hamilton, and Bottas was struggling to make Q3 in the same car.
“So you have to say that it was a brilliant weekend of driving from Lewis until he made the mistake at the end.”
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