In the wake of a dreary ‘battle’ for the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve has slammed Valtteri Bottas’ performance during the race at Interlagos.
Bottas qualified on pole, after Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Q1. On race day the Finn was outgunned off the start-line by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who took the lead and stayed there until the end, unchallenged by Bottas who settled for second.
Although Vettel did seem to control the race pace, Bottas never fired up a serious challenge on track and seemed to accept his second place plight. It was a stalemate that lasted 71 laps.
Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion, told reporters, “It was a great drive from Vettel, he won it at the start. He was aggressive. When you see what the Mercedes was capable of, you just have to look at Lewis and Bottas wasn’t up to pace. It’s embarrassing for Bottas.”
Hamilton started from the pitlane, way behind the leaders. By the end of the race – aided slightly by an early safety car period – the World Champion was a mere 2.7 seconds adrift of Bottas.
“Lewis finished around three seconds behind him when he started from the pits. It’s embarrassing. He simply is not on the pace of Hamilton. It’s been like that all year. That’s his level. Which is a good number two,” added Villeneuve.
Bottas admitted after the race that he was disappointed, his only real chance coming when he made an early pitstop in an attempt at the undercut which did not work, “I got pretty close after he came out from the pits but just not quite enough to try to overtake.”
“Definitely disappointed after a good day on Saturday, and obviously not so good for me on the battle we have for the second place of the championship. [Vettel] has quite a good lead now so we need some miracles in Abu Dhabi,” added Bottas.
Big Question: Was Valtteri’s race in Brazil an embarrassment?