Heikki Kovalainen and Valtteri Bottas both know what it's like to be a teammate of Lewis Hamilton, the most successful F1 driver of the 21st century.
Kovalainen drove with the six-time world champion at McLaren in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and Bottas has spent the previous three seasons alongside Hamilton in Mercedes.
In the Beoynd the Grid podcast, Kovalainen recalls his conversation with Bottas from 2017. At that time, Bottas, who was driving his first season with Mercedes, had a hard time keeping up with his teammate.
Kovalainen urged a Finn who had worn tires faster than Hamilton to pay attention to British braking.
- Valtteri, in particular, could not keep the soft tires in working condition as well as Lewis. I told him about my experiences with Lewis, to remember after the Bahrain race. I urged him to pay attention to Lewis ’braking and the so-called. low-paced style in the bends, because that’s where he’s really strong, Kovalainen said.
Kovalainen recalls that McLaren's mechanics compared his driving style in turns to the way Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen and Mika Häkkinen, among others, drive corners at high speeds, making corners run longer in a way.
- Lewis, on the other hand, brakes late, turns the car sharply and exits the bend in a more direct route, applying less force to the tire. I was always in trouble against him in the braking areas.
Both Finns have had to find out - at least so far - that the British flyer is faster. Bottas, who won four races last year, drove the best season of his career, but still lagged far behind Hamilton in the World Cup.
- I haven't given Valtter any real tips. He’s certainly able to figure things out for himself, and I think he’s done really well over the years. But yes, we have had small discussions every now and then, Kovalainen said.
Kovalainen won one race during his two McLaren seasons. The victory in the Hungarian race in 2008 was the only F1 career in Suomussalmi.