Bottas all talk as he 'doesn't like challenging Hamilton', says Palmer

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Valtteri Bottas has been accused of being all talk in his battles with Lewis Hamilton following the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Finn finally made a better start than his Mercedes teammate and was able to take the lead into Turn 1 at Mugello on Sunday.

But that moment wouldn't last long as Hamilton repassed him around the outside of the first corner at the second standing start following the first red flag.

After that point, the six-time world champion was largely untroubled as he claimed his sixth win of 2020, while Valtteri could only follow him home in second.

“Bottas doesn’t like challenging Hamilton,” ex-Renault driver Jolyon Palmer said on BBC 5 Live’s Chequered Flag podcast.

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“He talks a lot on the radio. He really talks it up a lot. [At Mugello] he was like ‘I want to do whatever Lewis doesn’t do’ and before [at Spa] he was like ‘why didn’t you give me the overtake option? You didn’t talk about this in the briefing’.

“He talks a lot but ultimately you never see fight from him in the race.

"He talks a good game, he’s a fast driver, he pushes Lewis really hard on Saturdays but on Sundays, he just doesn’t. It just looks all too easy for Hamilton.”

After the race, Bottas stated his belief that luck would swing in his favour soon, however, Palmer rubbished that thought too.

“He said at the end of the second stint ‘I’d love a Safety Car about now’, three laps later, Safety Car, bingo! It’s gone your way," he noted.

“He might as well have been there, end of lap 46, saying ‘I’d love a bit of luck right now’ and then it just happens for him but he couldn’t do anything with it.

“It’s not luck for Bottas, it’s just skill. He’s only just behind Hamilton in qualifying but it is skill that is putting Hamilton ahead and it is a bigger chunk of skill that is putting him ahead in the race.”

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After Mugello, the 31-year-old is now 55 points behind Lewis in the Drivers' standings.

But after missing out on one of his best chances for victory in recent races, F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn fears Bottas could be defeated mentally.

“Valtteri will leave Tuscany believing he should have a victory trophy in his possession, the Finn was in tremendous shape after snatching the lead from Lewis,” he wrote in his column.

“But he let the win slip through his fingers and he must be struggling to come to terms with another defeat to the reigning World Champion.

“This one will hurt and will leave him asking himself – what does he need to do to get the better of his team-mate?

“He’s still in the championship hunt, of course, but as every race goes by, his chances are slipping away.

“It’s now a mental battle, because he has the speed. But Lewis is relentless, takes every opportunity and rarely gives one to his opposition.”