dren wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:23 pm
Phil wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:04 pm
Sure about that? Toto was managing Bottas and i am not sure what Ricciardo would bring over Bottas, assuming they can reach an agreement with Hamilton. This is all about building an harmonic team.
Harmony between drivers is one thing, but getting the points and wins when you should is another. The pressure is building on Bottas to perform and he knows it. Hamilton, Rosberg, and Ricciardo all would have at least attempted a reasonable pass on Vettel in Bahrain. I think it's fair to say that all three would have likely pulled it off, too. Bottas played it safe and brought home some good points. It's easy to say "what if" though.
I don't quite agree. Bottas never really was in a position to attempt a reasonable pass on Vettel. He should have been, if he had not had that one slight lock-up 2 laps before the end and would have been in DRS range a lap earlier, rather than just on that final lap. One could argue that Bottas was a little too lax, but one could also argue that Mercedes as a team failed to capitalize on the proper strategy; e.g. once they realized that Ferrari were indeed attempting to one-stop as well, they should have closed that gap to put on pressure on Vettel/Ferrari that may have cascaded to further opportunities or even force them into another stop. Ferrari would have certainly done that. Anyway, Mercedes as a team didn't capitalize on that and therefore simply blaming it on the driver is not quite fair.
Other than that, Bottas has been fairly consistent point scorer. He's made few mistakes, yet he has proven that he can indeed beat Hamilton on a good day too. On top of that, he's easy to work with, calm and sensible. Of course, Ricciardo is that too - but I am not that convinced he is showing to be that much quicker. He could be, but if he is, would that not unsettle the peaceful harmonics with Lewis? If he isn't why sign him in the first place? What does he bring that Bottas doesn't already? Added marketing value?
My guess is that Mercedes main priority is to sort things out with Hamilton first. He's their main strength. Hamilton said this agreement extension might be his most important one yet - perhaps the terms on which he will end his career in F1. Beyond 2020, not much is certain yet with Liberty just having shown their plans and visions for the future. It will be interesting to see if Mercedes is willing to commit to the sport, a sport that is set to become more equal and at a much lower cost with an induced budget ceiling many times lower than what Mercedes is currently spending. This will mean that their influence and strength as a team/manufacturer will also be decreased. This of course will also increase the importance on a strong and committed driver.
Even so, the sport is as it is and will remain so until at least 2020. By the end of this season, there's still 2019 and the 2020 season. In theory, the least we could expect Hamilton to extend his contract till end of 2020 with Mercedes, with an option for further extension beyond 2020 if Mercedes and Hamilton decide to stay. This decision will also impact their contract with whoever takes that second seat.
IMO, Ricciardo is just being used as bait at the moment. He'd be an ideal replacement for Hamilton, or at the very least to put on pressure on Hamilton's negotiations. Hamilton doesn't really have anywhere else to go, so his only argument would be that he's quite willing to leave F1 by end of 2018. If that happens, then Ricciardo would be the ideal man to step in, alongside Bottas.
If Hamilton stays, then the question comes down to how long he'll stay and who to best partner him. IMO that would still be Bottas of what I have seen so far. That would leave Ricciardo with either a seat at RedBull or indeed Ferrari where he may upset the natural order with Seb there.
Other than that, what else is there? Hamilton to Ferrari? As fun as that would be, I'd only see that as a negotiation tactic to raise his stakes at Mercedes.