Pit Chat: Spare a thought for Valtteri Bottachello


Valtteri Bottas

There were shades of Austria 2002 as Mercedes activated wingman mode in Russia. Here’s a look back at the worst, and best bits, from the Sochi Autodrom.

But first…

Start as you mean to go on

Williams set the tone for another poor weekend with an early Twitter gaffe. Sometimes audience engagement isn’t a good thing.

Cue the replies of calling him a rich w***er before the tweet got deleted.

But not everyone is a Lance Stroll hater, not even the guy who is going to have his seat taken by him at Force India next season.

A classy post from a classy driver.

I’m a two-time World Champion, get me out of here!

While Ocon is desperate to stay in Formula 1, one Fernando Alonso is desperate to get the hell out of here.

When asked how he would improve the Sochi Autodrom track, this is what he drew…

His drawing/boredom skills also extended to the autograph session. What Pierre Gasly started off in Singapore, Alonso continued in Russia…

Even though Alonso is definitely, definitely leaving Formula 1 at the end of the season, we nearly got caught out by this tweet, which just turned out to be confirmation of his grid penalty…

And we can’t move on from Alonso without mentioning this wonderful video that did the rounds on social media this weekend. The ending in particular is superb.

Swede dreams aren’t made of this

Love him, like him, or loathe him, you have to feel at least a little bit sorry for Marcus Ericsson, who had quite the few days in the lead-up to Sochi.

Saturday, September 22 – “I feel that I stepped it up the last five or six weekends,” Ericsson said.

“I scored more points than Charles, and Charles has signed a contract with Ferrari for a few years.

“I think that says quite a bit,” he added. “If I can keep doing that, or even better, that’s what I need to do.”

Tuesday, September 25 – Antonio Giovinazzi to join Kimi Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019, Ericsson demoted to third driver.


Red Bull v Renault round 397

These two are going to keep taking shots at each other forever, aren’t they? It’s unusual to see Christian Horner take a back seat this time, but he would have been proud of his driver, Max Verstappen, with this retort.

Cyril Abiteboul: We have a very demanding user in the person of Max. Not very quiet, also. I think he should focus on the car.

Max Verstappen: Well if he focused as much on his own team than bothering me all the time they’d have been world champion already.

Verstappen also had to be quick off the mark when team-mate Daniel Ricciardo tried to put him in a world of trouble when mentioning that Max was out of breath answering his phone…

Playing with fire

We were half-expecting Ricciardo to fall mysteriously ill in Russia, especially after this particular comment made to the press:

But, if you are not having much fun on the track, may as well have some fun off it.

And, judging by these pics, Ricciardo was pretty much spent by Saturday morning.

Look at the state of you

Time for Kimi Raikkonen to provide a succinct review of what on earth is going on with Ferrari.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

When we wanted to see Sebastian Vettel keep pushing, this is not what we had in mind.

Speaking of messes, what an absolute shambles the ‘battle’ for the top 10 shoot-out was.

Valtteri Bottachello

But the biggest mess of all came courtesy of Mercedes, who managed to make a 1-2 in Sochi have the sombre atmosphere of a funeral.

The face of a broken man.

Lewis Hamilton was so uncomfortable on the top step of the podium, he even tried to give Valtteri his winners’ trophy.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Valtteri Bottas has been on the end of some unfair treatment.

And how can you forget that in-race close-up shot of Toto Wolff’s finger hovering over the dreaded button.

Crime can’t crack itself

The reason Mercedes gave for orchestrating team orders was concern over Hamilton’s blistering left rear tyre, which attracted plenty of attention post-race.

Sebastian Vettel swapped helmet for fedora…

And Bottas was straight over for a look as well…

Any other business

On the weekend of his 21st birthday, Max Verstappen’s voice finally breaks. The reply from the engineer is golden.

Here’s a nine-second clip to show why Brendon Hartley is making it very hard for himself to be hired for 2019.

The Torpedo is back!

And Sebastian Vettel sparks off a new camera cover-up controversy.

Last word

Can’t be anything else, can it?

Bottas: “How are we going to end race?”
Mercedes: “Positions stay as they are”

Next up, Japan…

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