W he bet on Valtteri Bottas as the winner before the start of the season in Melbourne, has become 25 euros richer for every euro stake. At the next Grand Prix, the bookmakers will probably no longer offer such good odds. The Bottas that we saw in Australia is not the same Bottas that couldn't win a single race last year.
“In 2008 I got a call from a young racing driver who asked me to meet has ”, remembers Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “It was a snowy day in Vienna and this Finnish boy came in a sweater without a jacket and asked me for advice. This boy then dominated the Formula Renault Eurocup against strong competitors like Vergne, Ricciardo or Merhi. Sometimes he lapped almost the whole field. And I saw this Valtteri here again yesterday and today. ”
Wolff could not answer the question why this real Valtteri Bottas did not show himself earlier, either. But the Austrian has a guess: “Maybe Valtteri had to digest the years with Williams and then the shock promotion to Mercedes. At the end of last year, exhausted, he said goodbye to the winter break. And he came back as the young man from 2008. “
Robottas with software -Upgrade
The 29-year-old has not only improved his driving skills. Things also seem to have changed in terms of attitude and self-confidence. Bottas, who is often mocked as 'Robottas' because of his sober statements, was already clearly more aggressive during the winter tests. As if a new software version had been installed on the “Robottas”.
In Australia it was a surpriseotherwise so calm Northern Europeans after the finish line with a hearty radio message in the direction of his critics. 'Fuck you ... to whom it may concern', the pilot broke out, which can be freely translated as: 'To everyone who is concerned ... lick my ass!'
The radio message was not built into the so-called Worldfeed, i.e. the transmission for all TV stations. Only the subscribers to the official Formula 1 streaming platform, who can follow all pilots from the onboard perspective, received the statement live.
'That was not a planned statement from me,' the pilot later commented on Situation. There was no explanation of exactly who the spell was addressed to. Just this much: “Those I mean will feel addressed. It's a long list of people. There are many people who support me. But in bad times there are also a lot of negative things. ”Bottas denied that he felt the criticism last season was unfair:“ Everyone can say what they want. ”
Bottas in Melbourne in a league of its own
The verbal attack would not have needed it in the end. With his performance in Australia, Bottas silenced the critics on their own. The blond boy had almost bought his guts from teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. At the start he made short work of the world champion. In the 58 laps to the finish, he didn't let anything get in the way. Bottas drove in a league of its own.
Two laps before the end he even had the leisure to attack the fastest race lap. The new Bottas was not satisfied with 25 points, instead he radioed to the command post that he would like to have 26 points: “The gap to the rear was big enough. I'm stuck in traffic and deliberately had to let myself fall back a little. Then I turned the engine settings up two levels and accelerated. Now I'm happy that I have one more point. ”
The victory that Bottas dedicated to the late race director Charlie Whiting is something very special. 'It's only my fourth victory overall,'the pilot smiled. “And after it didn't work out at all in 2018, I'm of course very satisfied today. It was the best race of my career. In contrast to last season, I got off to a perfect start this time. Now I just have to make sure that it continues like this. ”The competition shouldn't make the mistake of underestimating this new Bottas.