Former Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer gave a scathing review of Valtteri Bottas’ Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, in which he described the Finn’s display as “really poor” and said he can’t remember a time when Bottas has gone forward in a race.
Mercedes struggled throughout the Azerbaijan weekend, with both Bottas and Lewis Hamilton well outside the top ten in all three practice sessions. Hamilton however was able to turn his fortunes around come qualifying to take second on the grid, whilst Bottas was a lowly tenth.
Although some of that disadvantage can be put down to Bottas providing a tow for Hamilton – the pair take it in turns at each race weekend – he was still more than 1.2 seconds adrift of his team-mates time, with the tow worth no more than six-to-seven tenths.
Bottas then struggled in the race, falling back four places to eventually finish 12th, elevated two places from 14th thanks to the retirement of Max Verstappen and Hamilton’s restart mistake.
Palmer wasn’t impressed by Bottas’ performance and doesn’t think it’s an isolated case, as he sits a disappointing sixth in the standings with fewer than half Hamilton’s points tally.
“He was stuck behind Lando Norris, but on the same strategy, same power unit, in a car that Hamilton was certainly a lot quicker than the McLaren in,” Palmer said in the BBC’s 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.”
Palmer praised Hamilton for “turning it on” and transforming poor practice into second on the grid and in the race before his restart mistake.
“Bottas was just a midfielder all weekend. Hamilton turned it on, and to be fair to him when you compare his weekend with Bottas’, he was absolutely magical throughout the weekend.
“So you have to say that it was a brilliant weekend of driving from Lewis until he made the mistake at the end.”