Last season closed the book on Daniel Ricciardo’s Mercedes dreams, as the German team did not offer him the second seat as the teammate of Lewis Hamilton.
Now, however, Valtteri Bottas, currently running second in the 2019 F1 Championship, seems to be on slightly shaky ground as the circuit takes a month away following the running of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend past.
Bottas was involved in some fender benders in the race, clipping Hamilton early on. That is not the sort of thing that could be considered a good career move.
Hit something or anything else, Valtteri.
Contact with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc came soon after.
The damage to Bottas’ car required a visit to the pits and when he came back out, he was last in the field.
He did manage to fight his way all the way back to eighth at the finish, but the Finnish driver might have to do some nimble tap dancing if he is to be extended by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Compounding Bottas’ conundrum is that his hold on second position in the drivers’ standings is tenuous at best. Red Bull principal driver Max Verstappen trails by just seven points.
Verstappen has been a significant force since taking over the lead role with Red Bull.
He and Hamilton finished the Hungarian Grand Prix 60 seconds in front of the rest. Those two were in their post-race jammies and well into their first tinny of energy drinks when the others crossed. They apparently knew the secret shortcut through Hungary.
Hamilton was chasing Verstappen four laps from the end, but he swallowed the Red Bull driver with ease, as he had nice, fresh tyres he picked up on the 49th lap, after which he gradually chased Verstappen down and passed him on lap 66 as though it was not a Red Bull, but a McLaren, Williams or Renault car.