Performances have put Bottas in ‘decent place’

Despite being winless through the first half of the 2018 season, Valtteri Bottas believes that his performances are living up to the high standards that Mercedes are setting.

The Finn has seen three victories taken away from him so far this year, with the most heartbreaking coming in Azerbaijan.

Bottas had the race in the bag, but a late puncture forced him to retire from the lead. Safety Cars also cost him in China and at Silverstone.

Despite this, the Finn is happy with his performances so far this season.

“I am more or less on the level I want personally. That is a good thing even though only the team sees in great detail how I perform every week,” Bottas said.

“Having a few wins never does anything bad for you for the future but at least the team knows exactly how I am performing and the direction I am going with my improvement.”

The Finn has closed the gap to his four-time World Champion team-mate at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton. The qualifying gap between them is now less than 0.06s on average.

“I have felt that I have been able to improve my weaknesses, and strengths,” the Finn continued.

“Overall performances has just been closer, there have been less big gaps between me and Lewis [Hamilton].”

“No matter if the car has been good to drive or very difficult to drive, I feel I have been able to extract what there is and it has been quite close,” he added.

Having dropped away from the lead in the final few laps at Silverstone last weekend, Bottas now sits 67 points behind Sebastian Vettel.

 

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Livid Arrivabene: 'Allison should be ashamed!'

Mercedes’ allegations of foul play by Ferrari expressed in the heat of the moment after Sunday’s British Grand Prix didn’t go down well with Scuderia boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

Kimi Raikkonen’s collision with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, two races after Sebastian Vettel punted Valtteri Bottas out of the French Grand Prix, led Mercedes technical director James Allison to say that the red cars’ actions must either be deliberate or the result of incompetence.

Vettel labeled the claims as “silly”, insisting incidents happen when the racing is so close. But Arrivabene was outright shocked by Allisons’s words, as conveyed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

“Who is incompetent? Kimi? Who is he to judge what the drivers are doing in the car?” the Scuderia boss told Sky Italia.

“If he really said something like that, he should be ashamed!

“Allison worked at Maranello for many years, but now we are here in England teaching him to be a gentleman.

“I accept it from [Sky Italia pundit] Jacques Villeneuve because he was a driver. But this guy?”

Red Bull’s Christian Horner says the rhetoric is a clear indication that tensions between the Mercedes and Ferrari are reaching a boiling point amid the teams’ fierce world championship battle.

“When you have that growing tension, speculation is unavoidable when these incidents occur,” he said.

“But I believe it’s nothing more than a racing incident. I would be surprised if there was anything else or if Kimi is that kind of driver.”

In the German camp, Valtteri Bottas who enjoyed a momentous scrap with Vettel in the closing stages of the race, also played down the incident and the accusations.

“We are always racing closely with Ferrari and there can always be contact,” he said.

However, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda commented: “The accident was just unfair. It was the second time a Ferrari has hit us in the first corner. That’s not funny.”

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