The whole Mercedes’ team has been the ultimate winning machine for the last six years, with 2019 being closer than ever to perfection. The car was so dominant that the team managed to secure five one-twos in a row at the beginning of the season, and even in the moments of difficulty the Silver Arrows managed to capitalize the maximum out of their chances.
Lewis Hamilton has driven better than ever during the 2019 season, with Valtteri Bottas being a very strong wingman when needed and a victory-starving driver when the win was there for the taking.
An almost flawless team that only came to a stop on the German’s GP weekend.
The race at Hockenheim was not only an on-track disaster for the Silver Arrows, but came really close to upset the perfect and enstablished drivers’ balance inside the garages.
During the team bosses’ press conference prior to the weekend, Toto Wolff dropped an unexpected market bomb by telling that Bottas may have been replaced by Esteban Ocon for the 2020 season.
“It would be interesting to see one of our young drivers in the cockpit next year”, Wolff stated putting Bottas on thin ice. “We will have to take a difficult decision during the summer break.”
Forgetting about table manners, Valtteri Bottas has recently described the anxiety of this uncertainty as ‘a pain in the ass’. “There was definitely uncertainty for 2020 at some point –Bottas confirmed- Lots of rumours. I had no idea what was going to happen. I just had to wait. So, for sure, as an athlete, as a driver, it’s not an ideal situation.”
The Finn’s position was not only underestandable, but also helped the team to improve on drivers’ management for the future. If working under pressure sometimes helps on exctracting the best out of people, in the tough moment Valtteri was going through it could have been the last nail the coffin for him mentally-wise. That was not a secret, and this was the reason behind many shocked faces among the journalists at the end of Toto Wolff’s speech: the german team-principal had always been honest but at the same time as smooth as possible in front of the press.
“You can’t be completely with peace of mind and focus on the job and feel mentally free and in the right place. It’s tricky. When that continues, year after year, every single year of your career, at some point it’s getting a pain in the ass”, Valtteri admitted.
Such a strong statement could have upset the relationship between Bottas and the whole team, same for the one with Hamilton. Toto Wolff, having realized that, had no problems on admitting his mistake: “I think with Valtteri, there is a better way to deal with that. Now in retrospect, you can say it probably had an effect. And I will try to consider that and make a better job in that respect.” And has a glace to the imminent market domino of next year: “In 2021 the door is wide open, no drivers are contracted to any team, [which] is super exciting. And I guess the driver carousel is going to start very soon.”