A P3, followed by a DNF, and then, a P3 again! A string of performances in the opening three rounds was followed by another third, a DNF, and then, a lowly 12. Valtteri Bottas, who’s emerged winless thus far in ten rounds of the 2021 Formula 1 season, is a driver who currently finds himself under the glaring watch of the world.
There are reasons for it.
If you are driving the second-fastest car on the grid, one powered with nearly as much corner pace as the Red Bull, then your endeavour and final accomplishment must be anywhere between first and second podium places.
A P3 then makes little sense and perhaps doesn’t take you anywhere, especially when you wish to remain with a top-ranked team, instead of meandering off elsewhere.
Though what Bottas has managed after 10 races, from which he’s garnered a P12 and two DNFs, is a position that places him fourth on the Driver’s Standings, with no more than 108 points.
The Nastola-born driver’s woes are further exacerbated by the fact that he’s not even among the top three this year, even as thirteen more contests are yet to be held.
Valtteri Bottas has not been able to match Lando Norris, a driver ten years younger than him, a boy with 5 more points than the Mercedes driver.
What Valtteri hasn’t managed is the determination of a driver desperate to prove himself once again, which isn’t always easy since he’s the teammate of the best driver on the grid, if not the one leading the current championship.
Moreover, that he’s clearly not considered the number 1 threat to thwarting Red Bull’s great plans of winning the 2021 title whilst Lewis is, makes the trouble a bit bloated than what the Finn would like.
It may not be entirely incorrect to suggest in this regard that where the Finn currently finds himself is in midst of a career-saving drive in the ongoing championship, with the big question being where does he find himself at the end of the championship?
Perhaps only something like two back-to-back wins can suddenly raise his stocks a great deal instead of Valtteri having to face the predicament of a crash in the stock exchange. It’s where the value of a driver is accounted for by his immediate impact on the stock index- where success is determined by race wins and podiums.
Surely, come Russia and it’ll be Valtteri Bottas, who’ll feel more confident than perhaps even Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, basis recent form.
It’s a track where he’s been on the podium on every single occasion starting the 2017 Russian Grand Prix, winning the last year’s race.
But then, shouldn’t Bottas be helped by towering performances much before his favourite track arrives, which is no sooner than September 26?
There are 4 races to go prior to the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. The only way Valtteri Bottas can rescue an embattled career is by actually getting away with two race wins. For his team and its principal to consider his worth as a driver who doesn’t leave the job of wins on Lewis and is fine playing second fiddle.
Honestly, anything less or different won’t do and cannot save a fledgling career.
Add to that the ongoing talks of Bottas moving to Alfa Romeo for 2022 should Kimi call it a day or is told to leave, the latter being less of a chance given the respect the Iceman still enjoys (despite woeful form)!
It all makes for a poor case for a hugely talented driver, one who would have done well to move northward, if that means finding a seat at Red Bull given checkered performances punctuated by gritty wins in 2021. Anything else will be a demotion and moving downhill, truth be told.
Therefore, the only man that can save a fine career from hitting a dead end is Valtteri Bottas himself. The question is, whether he can do that?