F1: Mercedes driver Bottas goes rallying in off-season
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Valtteri Bottas has been snubbed by his peers after all 20 F1 drivers named their top drivers of the 2021 season. The Finn was the main source of disagreement between drivers and team bosses, with the latter also selecting their top 10 earlier in the week.
To produce two separate lists, F1 drivers and team bosses voted for their Top 10 Drivers of 2021, with points scored in an F1 race format (e.g. 25 for first place).
In the actual Drivers’ Championship, Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ this season as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battled it out for the world title.
He outperformed his Red Bull counterpart Sergio Perez by a 36-point margin to secure third place, although it was clearly not enough to earn the plaudits of his peers.
Instead, they recognised the performance of rookie Mick Schumacher, despite the Haas man failing to score a single point all year.
The youngster’s flashes of promise, despite the standard of his car, were enough to see him voted 10th in the drivers’ list, while there was no place for Bottas.
The 32-year-old’s absence was the clear difference between the two lists, with bosses putting him in ninth to see Schumacher drop out.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was ranked one spot higher by drivers than bosses in ninth, while every other position on the list was identical.
As such, both groups agreed on Verstappen’s brilliance in 2021, with Hamilton second on both occasions.
McLaren’s Lando Norris slotted in just behind, before the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
F1 veteran Fernando Alonso had a strong enough year to be voted sixth, the impressive Pierre Gasly seventh and Mercedes-bound George Russell eighth.
While Bottas may feel aggrieved that his 226-point haul was not recognised by his rivals, he will have the chance to spring a surprise next season when he joins up with Alfa Romeo.
The Finn will partner up with Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou in his first season away from Mercedes since 2016, and although his fellow drivers did not rate his performance up there with the best this year, Alfa boss Frederic Vasseur is optimistic about what Bottas can bring to the team.
“The most important, I think, for him at the stage of his career is to be in the centre of the team,” Vasseur told GP Fans.
“And it’s not an offence to Mercedes that he was always in the shadow of Lewis, but when you are in Mercedes, you are in the shadow of Lewis.
“Valtteri is coming with his own mega experience of the F1 with the speed that I think from the second part of the season, he showed a very strong pace.”
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