So far the 2016 Formula 1 season has been a major disappointment for Williams’ driver Valtteri Bottas. The Finn, who has outpointed his teammate in all of his three full seasons in F1, has finished eighth, ninth and tenth in his three 2016 starts. That compares poorly to Felipe Massa, his Williams’ counterpart, who has finished fifth, eighth and sixth.
But there have been legitimate reasons for all of his disappointing results. In Australia Bottas was forced to start in 16th following a grid penalty for a gearbox change. Consequently he spent most of his race overtaking and fighting with Sainz, Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Grosjean for sixth position.
In Bahrain, after a great start, an opening bend incident with Hamilton cost him several positions and saw him awarded an unfair drive-through penalty. Under the circumstances ninth was a good result. Then, in China, he lost out at the start after avoiding a collision between Vettel and Raikkonen. Running as high as second despite the safety car disrupting his strategy, the Finn came under attack by drivers on fresher tyres late on and finished 10th.
This run of bad luck cannot continue and not only is 26-year-old confidentially expected to finish ahead of his teammate this weekend in Russia, we also believe he can make the top-six.
The reasoning is simple… The Williams car is proven to work exceptionally well at this circuit. Last season Bottas qualified in third and was sat in that position when torpedoed by an overzealous Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap. In 2014 Bottas put his Williams in third position on the starting grid and stood on the same podium step at the conclusion of the race.
Nico No. 1 on Grid
More immediately Nico Rosberg, who has not only won the last six races but also qualified on pole seven times from his last nine starts, makes a lot of appeal to start at the front once again.
11/8 (Bet365) is too big about the German driver claiming pole-position especially considering he was the pole-setter here last season, albeit later unluckily forced to retire when leading the race.