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Bahrain an example of why F1 drivers consider Bottas "soft", says Palmer

Written by  Apr 11, 2018

Valtteri Bottas' failure to even attempt a last-gasp overtake on Sebastian Vettel during the Bahrain GP was another example of why Formula 1 drivers consider him to be "soft", according to ex-Renault driver Jolyon Palmer.

The Mercedes driver was closing in on the Ferrari driver by over a second per lap in the closing stages of Sunday's race at Sakhir as he enjoyed the additional durability of the Medium tyre compound compared to Vettel on Softs, but ultimately, his only slight chance came at the start of the final lap.

Using DRS, the Finn was closing in on the German down the main straight but decided he was too far back to make a move into Turn 1, given the margin he had over Lewis Hamilton in third, however, the former GP2 champion believes Bottas could have been more assertive.

"He either would have emerged from Turn 1 with the lead and the win, or he would have gone in too deep and ended up having Vettel slide back underneath him and ultimately finished second," Palmer told the BBC.

"At least that way he would know he had given it a go.

"The only way such a move would end in tears is if he was half-hearted and stuck just a nose down the inside. That's where collisions so often happen."

In direct contrast, Palmer compared Bottas' tentativeness to Daniel Ricciardo, a driver who has become known for his daredevil moves in recent years.

"He commits so heavily to his moves that they either come off, or he overshoots the corner too much and loses the place again. There's so rarely a half-hearted attempt from him," he added.

"I feel Bottas has the reverse effect in F1 at the moment. Yes, he's had a few scrapes, most notably with countryman Kimi Raikkonen, but he's seen as something of a soft touch in wheel-to-wheel fighting.

"Drivers are throwing moves down the inside of him that they wouldn't try on Hamilton."

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The 28-year-old defended his decision not to go all in, however, insisting he was giving it "everything".

“When you’re closing up on the car ahead and you get to the braking zones you lose quite a bit of front downforce because you’re running in turbulence, that mainly affects the front end and it’s a bit easy to lock up the front wheels," Bottas continued.

“It’s early days, but anyway it was a lot better than two weeks ago and today, the race pace we had, was actually slightly better than what we expected coming into the race, so that was positive.”

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