Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Hamilton: Blocking Bottas would be “not the right thing to do”

2019 British Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he would have fought harder against Valtteri Bottas had he not been his team mate.

The two Mercedes drivers fought for the lead in the opening laps of the British Grand Prix. Hamilton briefly got alongside Bottas at one point but ceded the position, saying it would have been wrong to force his team mate to back down.

“We want to race-wheel-to-wheel and tough,” he said. “When you’re racing with a team mate it’s all different because if I was racing a Ferrari I’d take more risks. Still respectful, but you can lean on them a little bit more.

“As team mates we sit down at the beginning of a race, we talk about turn one, how we’re going to respect each other and make sure we don’t collide.

“[So] even when I overtook him and he was coming back I could’ve swept across the front and blocked him but that’s not the right thing to do. Ultimately it enabled him to get back past but that’s racing and it was really fair and it was great.”

Hamilton said he was hoping to have the chance to fight Bottas again later in the race before the Safety Car was deployed.

“Honestly I was looking forward to maybe some racing later, I was extending that first stint hoping that I’d come out [close].

“The gap was growing in terms of me coming out one seconds, one-and-a-half seconds, two seconds. I was trying to keep it as little as possible before I finally stopped so that when I came out, had the advantage on the new tyre and catch him up and try to get past. But the Safety Car came out and intervened.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 28 comments on “Hamilton: Blocking Bottas would be “not the right thing to do””

    1. That was very exciting contest to watch.

      1. Contrast that contest with Vettel and Verstappen….

        Vettel’s history speak volumns for him as a driver, which is why those points will alway go against him.

        Anyone would think Vettel going for the alternative record of F1’s dirtiest driver. ;-/

        1. Anyone would think Vettel going for the alternative record of F1’s dirtiest driver.

          You’re exaggerating. More than sure he’s closer to the clumsy side. To be dirty means to do it on purpose, which is not VET case. In my opinion, HAM beats him there too. For example, I’m pretty sure HAM skipped on purpose the entire 2nd corner in 2016 Mexico in order to avoid a possible overtake by ROS and VER. That’s dirty. Dirty (and very dangerous!) is when VER braked on purpose in front of RAI at +300km/h on the straight at Spa.

          1. @mg1982 But he does do it on purpose. You cannot pretend it’s just clumsy when it keeps happening over and over and over.

            Every time he comes with excuses like that he “knows he’s in a tight corner, behind another car and therefore with less downforce” and yet he suffers from “a snap of oversteer” induiced by him mashing the throttle pedal like non of those conditions applied. That’s really just dirty driving. Always assuming everybody will just disappear/move out of the way when he does his thing.

            1. @f1osaurus So people are allowed to be clumsy only a handful of times? After that everything they do is intentional?

          2. @mashiat Yes. You can use that excuse only when it’s accidental. Not when it happens 3 to 7 times every season again.

            Besides, it’s not just that. It’s not “clumsy” to begin with. He mashes the pedal as if he’s alone on track and then feigns surprise that in fact there was another car next to him.

            So yes, it’s probably more like sheer arrogance or incompetance.

            1. @f1osaurus You said it yourself, it is just pure incompetence. That doesn’t mean it’s intentional.

            2. @mashiat No I did not. I said “arrogance or incompetence”.

              Not sure how hard to grasp this is. Arrogance means what he does is intentional.

              Sure there is a part incompetence, but the biggest problem is that Vettel simply presses his throttle like there is no car besides him. That is intentional/arrogance. Those other cars should just move out of the way (or disappear).

              In fact even in Silverstone he immediately blamed Verstappen on the radio: “Hey, what was he doing”.

        2. Agree with Vettel’s assessment, He wan his titles thanks to that car and no competition from his teammate. His race craft was never good and his Ferrari years just prove it. Last two years he had a car capable of winning the title and he blew it. Waste of a seat.

        3. Fair to say if you switch the drivers Lewis wouldn’t have blocked the inside line late like Max did if he was racing his teammate.

    2. Hamilton : I beat Bottas and wasn’t really trying.

      Daming with feint praise….

    3. I get the logic in maintaining the team equilibrium because it’s clearly working for Hamilton, and he has the experience now to know that this kind of race wouldn’t necessarily be resolved by keeping Bottas behind so early in the race. In fact if Hamilton had been in the lead, he may well have pitted first and been given Bottas’s two-stop strategy before the SC.

      That said, I’d actually quite like to see a bit more aggression between the Mercedes drivers. Bottas, I guess, is a bit stuck because if he ruffles team harmony too much, Rosberg-style, he’ll probably lose his seat. But if he doesn’t, the odds just work out in Hamilton’s favour as they already have done. So Hamilton is the only one likely to initiate it, and with an almost two-race point lead, he just has no need.

      1. @david-br The only reason Rosberg ever got ahead of Hamilton was through much more technical issues on Hamilton’s car. It wasn’t because he “ruffled feathers”.

        Nowadays Mercedes reliablity is very good on both sides of the garage. So Bottas does not have that little bonus now and then to help him get a win here and there like Rosberg could.

        1. So true. The only reason Rosberg won ’17 Championship was Hamilton having MYSTERIOUS Car probs.

    4. Whatever… If not for the lucky safety car, Bottas probably would have won!

      1. @Glamo
        yeah whatever you think, nobody cares :)

      2. @Glamo
        It’s a bold claim.
        Hamilton got lucky with the safety car but Bottas was already on a two-stop strategy. He still had to pass Hamilton on track.

      3. You seem to forget that Ham was faster,on a 1 stop plan and MAKING Tires last longer. Basically, The SC HELPED Bottas more since it kept him closer in case Ham did have a prob. Lastly,Ham had fastest Lap with Tires 30 laps old.

    5. What I feel is not “the right thing to do” is that Bottas is clearly only setting his car up to set a fast lap in Q3. He knows that Mercedes won’t allow Hamilton to use strategy to overtake him, nor will Mercedes allow Hamilton to use every trick allowed within the rules on Bottas.

      So Bottas sets a fast Q3 lap, but as a result he ends up just slow again in the race. Mercedes is lucky that they are ahead of the lot at the moment, but like in Austria (before they really had to turn down the engine), Hamilton was clearly held back by Bottas. Hamilton could have gone after Leclerc, while Bottas was just muddling along on his Q3 setup with a heavy car. This put them both under threat from Verstappen and Vettel behind.

      I’m not saying they should make Hamilton their #1 driver and let him past Bottas, but surely there should be some team goal to make sure the drivers both try to work on a good performance in the race to sort of the same extent.

      1. Jonathan Edwards
        14th July 2019, 21:28

        Please enlighten us with the all the evidence of Bottas doing this you surely have….

        1. @f1osaurus Did you see the race?

      2. @f1osaurus Is it really a crime to be slower in race pace than one of the greatest drivers in F1 history? If Bottas was good enough to be quicker than Hamilton in the race, he’d be going down in history as one of the top 3 drivers in F1 history. Instead, he beat Hamilton by 0.006s over one lap, which is essentially a one-off, so it’s no surprise that when it’s over 50-odd laps, Bottas struggles more against Hamilton.

        1. @mashiat Do you really not get it? Bottas wasn’t just slower during the race, he was nowhere near the pace of Hamilton.

          If he sets up his car as if there is also a race where he needs to perform then he would have been 3 tenths faster in Q3 and 3 tenths slower in the race. Now he was between 7 tenths and 1.5s slower during the race and had the the same pace in Q3.

          It’s just an asinine way of approaching a weekend and it’s bad for the team.

          1. @f1osaurus

            If he sets up his car as if there is also a race where he needs to perform then he would have been 3 tenths faster in Q3 and 3 tenths slower in the race.

            Firstly, I’m not sure this statement makes sense. Secondly, I have no idea where you got the 0.7s-1.5s slower times from. In the first stint, Bottas was likely slower than Hamilton, but not to that extent, and after the safety car, he was able to keep up relatively well.

            1. @mashiat Hamilton stated that his setup gave him a long run pace advantage of 7 tenths. He realized Q3 would be difficult, but he didn’t want to give away his race pace advantage. So that’s wher ethe 7 tenths comes from

              Hamilton was faster on hard tyres than Bottas on softs. Two compounds with a 1.5s delta. So that’s your 1.5s.

              Bottas “keeping up” while 2-stopping on medium tyres versus Hamilton 1-stopping on hard tyres also means Hamilton was a lot faster.

    6. Vettel – Baku – 2017. But Vettel isn’t dirty

    7. HAM is not the ruthless wheel-to-wheel racer rivals long feared. Driving the class-leading car for so long has weakened him in that area and is one of the principal reasons BOT’s chances of winning the 2019 WDC aren’t gone. Keeping the door open to BOT there was odd indeed and I even doubt he would have done that with Rosberg in the sister car…

      1. You forget that he wouldn’t have seen Rosberg as his teammate by the end as Nico had already destroyed that relationship. Just because we don’t see HAM having to be ruthless I don’t think that means he wouldn’t, I think he was pretty ruthless to Vettel a couple of times last year.

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