Ex-F1 driver Jolyon Palmer had criticised Valtteri Bottas’ wheel-to-wheel racing, saying the Mercedes driver never makes progress.
The Finn qualified a very disappointing P10 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and failed to gain any ground in the opening stint as he remained behind the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Opportunities did present themselves, in particular a standing race restart with two laps to go which triggered overtakes galore, sadly though plenty of them were on Bottas who went on to finish P12.
And thinking back, Palmer can not remember a time that Bottas has actually moved forwards in a race.
“He was stuck behind Lando Norris, but on the same strategy, same power unit, in a car that [Lewis] Hamilton was certainly a lot quicker than the McLaren in,” said Palmer on the F1: Chequered Flag podcast.
“Bottas in wheel-to-wheel, every single time you see it, he is really poor at wheel-to-wheel fighting.
“You put him in the midfield with a bunch of cars around him, he will not go forwards. At best he will hold position, probably he will go backwards.
“Can you remember a good overtake of Bottas’? You struggle to think of overtakes that Bottas does. He is in the midfield and he stays in the midfield.
“Or, he just gets shuffled down. The restart that he had was a little bit like the start he had in Monza last year, where he started at the front and at every corner just got shuffled down.
“In the end, he beat Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, Hamilton who did a U-turn in the run-off area, and [Nicholas] Latifi who had a stop/go penalty.”
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Palmer emphasised Bottas’ struggles by comparing him to Hamilton across the Baku weekend.
Bottas just about made Q3 before delivering a poor race, while Hamilton put his W12 on the front row and was a contender for victory until his late error while battling Sergio Perez for P1.
“Bottas was just a midfielder all weekend,” Palmer continued.
“Hamilton turned it on, and to be fair to him when you compare his weekend with Bottas’, he was absolutely magical throughout the weekend.
“If you are comparing team-mates, Hamilton was looking like Lewis Hamilton, and Bottas was struggling to make Q3 in the same car.
“So you have to say that it was a brilliant weekend of driving from Lewis until he made the mistake at the end.”
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