Ralf Schumacher has expressed doubt that Formula 1 saw a rejuvenated and revitalised Valtteri Bottas at the Australian Grand Prix. The Mercedes man ended his year-long win drought by beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne, but Schumacher believes the result had more to do with the champion's struggles than any newfound fight from Bottas.
The Finn arrived for the 2019 with a decidedly different look, having put muscle on over the off-season and grown a beard, and his exploits in Australia hinted at a new mental approach too.
Bottas qualified closer to Hamilton than any teammate had since Jenson Button trumped him in 2010, before jumping the five-time world champion off the line and dominating the race, celebrating his victory with a spiky message to his doubters.
However, Hamilton's effort were hampered by floor damage sustained early in the race, and Schumacher believes this was more crucial to Bottas' win.
The six-time grand prix-winner told the Starting Grid podcast: "I would say it was just a good weekend for him, no more and no less.
"I would not read that much into it.
"He showed in qualifying that he is on the level of Hamilton, but in the end he was still a tenth away because he made a mistake.
"Without [Hamilton's damaged] floor and the start, it would be the usual picture I've been pretty sure.
"That's why: Yes, it's good that he made it, but we do not have a new Bottas, which would be very surprising."
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