Finnish F1 driver Valtteri Bottas has been subjected to a lot of criticism in the last 4 years at Mercedes, mainly for not being able to beat his teammate, 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
Herbert told motorsport.com that he believes Bottas is the perfect driver for Mercedes, meeting all their expectations despite what his critics say. He considers that it is normal for a driver to struggle alongside someone like Lewis, stating that highly-rated pilots like Verstappen and Leclerc would find it difficult as well.
“Valtteri has worked hard and improved since he arrived at Mercedes. Right now he can beat Lewis, but the person we’re talking about is Hamilton. I think it would not be easy for anyone who is competing against him, even Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] would have it difficult to deal with him”, said Herbert.
He continued by saying “The hard thing is to beat Lewis in all races. Lewis is always a candidate to win races no matter what happens even on his worst day, in which he will probably finish in second place. Valtteri is doing a good job and I think it’s perfect for now and George also did well in Bahrain. What will happen depends on the silly season, if Bottas is fired or if Lewis retires”.
Continuing to defend Bottas, Herbert said that the Finn is perfect for Mercedes for his ability to stay out of trouble and bring consistent points on the board, crucial for the Constructors’ Championship.
“People’s attitude towards him is really terrible”, he added, “because almost everyone tells him that he is not good enough, but he also had good performances and sometimes defeated Lewis. (His) problem is instability in some races”.
“The most important thing is that (he) gets what Mercedes wants, (he) gets the necessary points for the Constructors’ Champonship. (He) also doesn’t cause problems for the team and that’s exactly what Toto wants and also what Lewis wants. Nobody wants problems or fights”, Herbert said as a conclusion.