Critics say Bottas ‘a long way off’ 2021 pace

(GMM) Valtteri Bottas is “a long way off” the pace at present, according to former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher.

Even Bottas’ team boss admits the Finn is at a “very sensitive moment”, even though Toto Wolff also defended him after his crash with potential replacement George Russell at Imola.

“The race didn’t go well for him,” Wolff told Sky Italia. “He’s taking steps back. He’s not fast enough right now.”

Schumacher agrees that Bottas didn’t cause the crash with Russell, insisting that Lewis Hamilton’s teammate “certainly doesn’t play games at over 300kph”.

Is Bottas mentally a defeated man?

“But he certainly didn’t want to let Russell just pass him either,” Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland. “And I didn’t like his attitude in the interviews that followed.

“In general, he has to ask himself why he had to defend himself against a Williams while racing deep in the midfield. He’s been at a similar level to Hamilton many times, but he’s a long way off at the moment,” he added.

“Mercedes is trying to explain it as a lack of grip with the rear, but in my opinion the entire Valtteri Bottas package lacks grip at the moment,” Schumacher continued.

“There has to be more to come from him, otherwise he will quickly be sidelined.”

Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov agrees that Bottas is currently struggling – as is Max Verstappen’s new teammate Sergio Perez at Red Bull.

“Bottas confirms again and again everything that his critics say about him,” the Match TV personality said.

“I would really like them to be wrong, but every time they say something is wrong, he shows that something is wrong.”

As for Perez, Popov added: “I had high hopes for him. But in the end, we see that Albon was no worse. Yes he overtook, but in order to overtake like that, you have to be too far behind.”