Valtteri Bottas’s future boss Fred Vasseur says the Finn will have the responsibility of leading Alfa Romeo forward as he will no longer “be in the shadow” of Lewis Hamilton when he joins the Swiss outfit next season.
Unfortunately for Bottas, his time at Mercedes ended with something of a whimper in some ways, with several performances where he finished in almost anonymous placings while the battle raged on at the front.
Frédéric Vasseur believes Valtteri Bottas can emerge from the shadow of Lewis Hamilton in 2022 after the Finn left the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team to race for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
Bottas leave Mercedes after five seasons and being part of five consecutive Constructors’ Championships, but the Finn was never truly in contention for a Drivers’ title in that time whereas Hamilton claimed four of them.
His 2021 campaign saw him win only once compared to the eight of Hamilton, and he ended a distant third in the championship, well adrift of his team-mate and eventual champion Max Verstappen.
But now he finds a new home at Alfa Romeo, and his new Team Principal Vasseur believes Bottas will be revitalised by not being team-mates with Hamilton, with the Finn always going to be in his shadow for however long he was to be at Mercedes.
“For sure, it’s always a target to do a good job,” Vasseur is quoted as saying by GPFans.
“But the most important, I think, for him at the stage of his career is also to be in the centre of the team and it’s not an offence to Mercedes that he was always in the shadow of Lewis, but when you are in Mercedes, you are in the shadow of Lewis.
“When you’re in Red Bull, you’re in the shadow of Max [Verstappen] and if you have a look under the drivers alongside Max the last 10 years or six years, it was [Pierre] Gasly, it was [Alexander] Albon, it was [Sergio] Pérez. Pérez probably did a better job last year than this season.
“It’s a very, very difficult position and situation to be the team-mate of Max or Lewis and, I think for Valtteri it wasn’t too important to be considered as the leader at that.”