Mercedes should think twice about throwing its weight behind Sir Lewis Hamilton in this year’s Championship battle and making Valtteri Bottas serve as his wingman, ex-Formula One racer Marc Surer has warned.
Speaking to Formula1News.co.uk, Surer said that it would be “dangerous” to designate a clear number one and number two driver so early in the season.
“I think it is very difficult to put already at the beginning of the season a number one and a number two, because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Surer said.
“Hamilton could have bad luck in two races and suddenly Bottas has more points.
“The best example of not to do this is 2007, when McLaren was dominating Formula One.
“There was [Fernando] Alonso as the number one, and Hamilton as the number two, not officially but logically. And they also did some tricks with pitstops to put Alonso in front.
“But at the end they turned around and none of them had won the Championship, so it’s dangerous to do it [assign a number one and number two driver] so early,” he added.
Earlier this month, 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill said he believes the “external threat” Red Bull poses to Mercedes this season will push them to back Hamilton over Bottas to give them the best chance of winning the 2021 Drivers’ Championship.
“Any kind of external threat unites a team. So for years now, we’ve had Mercedes fighting amongst themselves between drivers for the title and occasional incursions from people like Red Bull or Ferrari, but now they have an external threat,” Hill said.
“So I think that you’ll see that teamwork solidifying behind Lewis, their main campaigner. They know that Lewis is their strongest card in their pack.
“I think he demonstrated that magnificently in Bahrain. I know for a fact that Red Bull were scratching their heads after Bahrain, because they knew that Lewis had done something slightly magical by staying ahead of their car, which they felt was slightly better,” he added.
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