12 July 2015
Massa pegs Bottas as key to F1 'silly season'
Felipe Massa is not surprised that Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas is being linked to a possible move to Ferrari next year - unless he decides to stay put of course....
Felipe Massa is in no doubt that current Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas can be a major player in this year's driver merry-go-round.
The Finn has been linked to a possible Ferrari drive for 2016, with fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen seemingly under fire at every grand prix weekend. The veteran has shown flashes of the potential Ferrari rehired him for, but his results have not been consistent over the past year-and-a-half and, despite team boss Maurizio Arrivebene offering a degree of sympathy in the wake of the British Grand Prix, there is no doubt that Raikkonen is on a slippery slope.
Bottas' performances over the past couple of years with Williams have elevated him – along with the likes of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg – into the reckoning as a possible Raikkonen replacement and, while the Finn is loathe to discuss his options, team-mate Massa openly admits that there is the chance he could be Maranello-bound next season.
“He is maybe one of the most important names on the market,” the Brazilian offered, “We cannot forget that he has an option to stay here, so we need to understand what is going to happen, but he showed that he is a good driver, has the talent for a top team and can do well at whatever team he is racing. That's why the other teams are interested in getting him - but I don't know if he is going or not...”
With Ricciardo more likely to remain at Red Bull and Hulkenberg being touted as a possible Bottas sub at Williams, the Finn is many people's favourite to replace Raikkonen, with Massa, a little tongue-in-cheek, ruling himself out of the equation after recent results had him as the best of the Williams pair...
“I think I was there, so I don't know if I want to go back,” he smiled, misinterpreting the question of how Ferrari might view him beating Bottas in the past two races, “I'm happy where I am and I think, sometimes, it's not just money that is making the difference. You need to understand what you are doing, how happy you are and where you are, so I'm happy where I am and don't see a reason to change.”
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