Bottas: I’m not No. 2 at Mercedes

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

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Salvu Borg

if Bottas beats number 44 the firework at Mercedes will start all over again, number 44 and Rosberg were bosom buddies from their carting days, everybody and his dog never stopped talking about that, that is till Rosberg started beating number 44 and the fireworks started being let off at Mercedes. no matter who is number 44 teammate, cordial relationship will end if number 44 is beaten, that mind-set is in his DNA.


If Bottas performs to the level where the car should be, he is likely to be the default number two. The top drivers are able to extract something extra from the car, and put it above where it should be. Hamilton, for all his faults, is able to do that.

With Ferrari looking much more competitive in pre-season testing, it doesn’t look like Mercedes will dominate, so just performing at the level of the car may see Bottas in fourth place, or lower if Red Bull bring upgrades that deliver performance in Australia.

Meine Postma

I hope very much you are right, but don’t forget that last year after testing everybody thought Ferrari was almost there.

Meine Postma

I feel a second Barrichello coming up. Sometime in the future Bottas is going to sue Google to prevent that if you search “number 2 driver” he will be the first hit.

Salvu Borg

At Melbourne every team will get their latest updates, there will be those that will be trailing their updates to try and improve upon what they produced during the eight days of testing, and there will be those that will bring and trail updates to improve the reliability problems they ran into during the eight days of testing. By this time all four manufacturers has homologated their latest specification power units, during the eight days of testing FERRARI has used one power unit specification (one power unit/engine during all of the eight days, Mercedes has used two specifications and so… Read more »


I agree, it will be very interesting to see what happens, when Hamilton and Bottas get into a fight on the racetrack. And maybe even more, what happens in a situation when the drivers are on a different strategy and meet on the track. Whether you like it or not, but there are reasons why guys like Schumacher, Vettel and Hamilton are multiple word-champions and others (Coulthard, Barrichello) are not.

Salvu Borg

Once again a bit off-topic but as promised last time here are (for those interested) the numbers as regards what teams used in the final day of testing (what they settled on) as regards wheel base (in millimeters) and rake (in degrees).
Mercedes 3760mm, 0.9 degrees. Force India 3619mm, 2.1 degrees. Renault 3630mm, 1.7 degrees. HAAS 3594mm, 1.4 degrees. FERRARI 3594mm, 1.6 degrees. McLaren 3584mm, 1.7 degrees. RBR 3557mm, 1.5 degrees. Sauber 3550mm, 1.3 degrees. STR 3549mm, 1.1 degrees. Williams 3545mm, 1.7 degrees.

Salvu Borg

Following suspensions inspections in Barcelona testing by Marcin Budkowski and JO Bauer both Mercedes and RBR were told that their suspension systems did not fully comply with the ruels and would have to be changed.