Mercedes signed Valtteri Bottas to a one-year deal and as much as I’ve read about how he’ll be a number 2 at the team and how he’ll not want to rock the cart, there is something in that says he’s also aware that he has one shot at making a name and career for himself at the German team with a three-time champion as a teammate.
Lewis Hamilton will now be the favorite to lead the team as his main adversary, Nico Rosberg, retired at the end of last season with a world title trophy in his hands. I doubt doubt that Lewis will be the man to lead and to beat. I’m just not sure Bottas has the luxury of playing Santa’s helper with Lewis if he wants a long-term career at Mercedes. In fact, he’s already suggesting there is no number 2 at the team.
“I don’t fear that I will be the No 2 at Mercedes,” said Bottas.
“Mercedes do not have a No 1, or a No 2 driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it.
“I am very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver.”
He’s right, Lewis is a great measuring stick for anyone and the real question isn’t if Valtteri is a number two but if he has to pace to run with Lewis, what will he do when they are battling wheel-to-wheel or nose-to-tail? Most expect him to fall in line and follow Lewis home of let Lewis by and that very well could be but something is nagging at me that he may not. We will have to wait and see.
Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1