F1: Bottas trains in Monaco ahead of new season
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Red Bull’s newest recruit has been tipped to push Valtteri Bottas all the way this season and will go with potential repercussions on the Mercedes driver line-up for 2022. Lewis Hamilton has been the dominant driver at Mercedes over the years with Bottas struggling to match his team-mate.
The Finnish driver came under increasing pressure last year with growing speculation over potentially losing his seat unless his results picked up.
George Russell’s performance at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Hamilton’s car also added another dimension to Mercedes’ future plans beyond the 2021 season.
For now, Mercedes will move forward with Bottas and Hamilton once again but their closest rivals have made a big switch in swapping Alex Albon out for Sergio Perez.
The goal for Mercedes will be to keep Red Bull at bay again and Bottas will know that the best chance of keeping his seat will be to finish ahead of both Red Bull drivers.
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However, former F1 car designer Gary Anderson has tipped Perez to be Bottas’ “equal” this season which could in turn force big changes at Mercedes.
“Red Bull has to pressure Mercedes from the start to even up those numbers across the 2021 season,” he told The Race.
“We all know that Max Verstappen has what it takes to achieve pole positions and win races, but to win the constructors’ you need two drivers capable of that.
“To attempt to do that, Red Bull has looked outside of its driver scheme and turned to the experience of Sergio Perez.
“You wouldn’t call Perez an out-and-out race-winner given he’s spent his F1 career in the midfield, but he has not had the tools to show his real talent.
“He did win a race last year – as did Pierre Gasly, both fortunate victories – but Sergio is normally up there fighting for big points and that is what Red Bull needs.
“Every podium finish he can score will give Red Bull more points, but more importantly it will reduce the points that Mercedes will take. I’m confident he’s going to be the equal of Valtteri Bottas at least.”
Red Bull unveiled the first images of their RB16B for the 2021 season on Tuesday with this being the final year they’ll be using Honda engines.
But Anderson believes Red Bull are holding back some details from the images they’ve released to try and second guess Mercedes.
“I don’t think what we are seeing in these release pictures is by any means the final race version,” he added.
“The same applies to the rest of the car. Red Bull has always tried to pull the wool over our eyes. I think it is best to wait until things start to get serious before we say too much about the finer detail of the RB16B.
“On the way, let’s hope it doesn’t outsmart itself by trying to be too clever.”
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