The battle between Hamilton and Bottas is shaping up to be interesting. 3 poles in succession is not to be underestimated and as I have argued previously, I feel Bottas has been underestimated severly in the previous two seasons.
No doubt, I think Nico Rosberg has been a stronger opponent to Lewis - not last because Rosberg had very good ties to the team he joined much earlier, perhaps his closer relationship to Lewis (on a personal level) and the psychological warfare. Adding to that, Rosberg was very quick too, perhaps just slightly off in race pace, but extremely consistent throughout a weekend.
Bottas though has shown that he can be as fast as Lewis, especially on Saturdays. He has not only demonstrated this this year, but also in the last two seasons too. He was extremely unlucky beginning last year when he also started very strong, but didn't get in the results through circumstance that would have meant he could have been leading last years championship after Baku too. Bottas image also suffered somewhat due to him usually finding himself behind Lewis in races (and behind strong Ferraris) that meant Mercedes put him on less than optimal strategies, on one hand to protect Lewis, on the other hand to achieve a better team-result and also force Ferrari here and there. Overall, it meant that Bottas finished a distant 4th in the end.
Despite this, I think Lewis is still arguably the quicker driver, not least because he also has an incredible fighting spirit during races which has seen him win races he simply shouldn't have (Monza last year is a great example, but also this year at Bahrain in his battle vs Vettel). I am yet to see this from Bottas. Nevertheless, Bottas is quick and he is on the run of his career surely. He now knows that Lewis is beatable, that he can beat and challenge him. This self-belief and the run he is on could carry on to new heights and see him become a very serious contender.
What is also not to be unterestimated is that it's looking to be another 2 horse race between both Mercedes drivers. The intel is shared, the set-up potentially. Few secrets. And every win or loss is a potential 7-8 point deficit. More if you consider that one's win is the other's loss. Reliability could prove crucial, as it has against Rosberg.
Last edited by Phil on Tue May 14, 2019 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Not for nothing, Rosberg's Championship is the only thing that lends credibility to Hamilton's recent success. Otherwise, he'd just be the guy who's had the best car. — bhall II