EDITORIAL | La redención de Bottas

Valtteri es velocista, pero no fue su rapidez lo que le dio el triunfo en Albert Park, sino el cambio en su actitud y el ferviente deseo de enterrar el inmerecido papel de escudero de Mercedes.

Por Koty Sandoval

“A quien le corresponda, que se joda”. Con esta frase Valtteri Bottas cruzó la meta del Gran Premio de Australia, sacudiéndose así 2018, uno de los años más frustrantes de su carrera, donde debido a las órdenes de equipo debió perjudicar innumerables veces su propia estrategia en favor de Lewis Hamilton y el pentacampeonato.

Halloween. Bottas escucha ruidos de fantasmas y exclama “jaja vete de aquí, no le temo a los fantasmas”. De pronto, el fantasma grita “Valtteri, it´s James”, lo que provoca la huida despavorida del finlandés. El relato forma parte de un video viral donde se mofan con maestría del terror que provocaba en el piloto escuchar la voz de James Alison, ingeniero de carrera y encargado de decirle cuándo debía dejarse adelantar por Hamilton.

El video viral fue sólo la punta del iceberg de una situación ya conocida: para Mercedes Valtteri era simplemente un escudero, algo confirmado a viva voz por Toto Wolff, director de la escudería, cuando llamó “wingman” a Bottas en una entrevista, lo que ocasionó más burlas descarnadas contra él. De ahí en más, Bottas consideró que ya había sido suficiente.

A finales de 2018 se dio la noticia de que Tony Ross, ingeniero de pista, emigraría de forma defintiiva a la Fórmula E, dejando al finlandés a la deriva por algunos días hasta que se confirmó la buena nueva: Riccardo Musconi, otrora ingeniero de rendimiento de coche de Hamilton, llegaría a trabajar junto al finlandés para diseñar en conjunto la estrategia para 2019 y ayudarle a dejar atrás los demonios de la última temporada.

En enero nos sorprendimos al ver a Bottas paseando en el Costanera Center, probando pisco en el Valle del Elqui y tomando cerveza en Valparaíso. Se veía distinto; dejó atrás su estilo inmaculado para dar paso a una frondosa barba y una actitud más relajada. Algunos dicen que se contagió de nuestra ‘chispeza’, porque lo que veríamos un par de semanas después, en Australia, dejó al mundo del automovilismo anonadado.

Tras quedar segundo en la clasificación, Valtteri estaba en primera fila en Melbourne junto a Lewis, quien se había hecho con la pole. Cuando los semáforos se apagaron y se dio inicio al Gran Premio, el finlandés arrancó magistralmente desde el lado sucio y adelantó a su teammate apoderándose de la primera posición hasta el final de la carrera, logrando la victoria tras 58 giros y a unos espléndidos 20 segundos de distancia de Lewis.

El primer lugar de Valtteri no fue casualidad y tuvo un ingrediente del que pocos se enteraron: el embrague. El piloto de Mercedes practicó con el embrague incansablemente durante todo el fin de semana mejorando así su estrategia para la largada, algo que Hamilton ni siquiera se molestó en hacer debido a su exceso -justificado, por lo demás – de confianza.

Bottas es velocista, algo no desconocido para los fanáticos, pero no fue su rapidez lo que le dio el triunfo en Albert Park, sino el cambio en su actitud y el ferviente deseo de enterrar el papel de escudero y cuidar su butaca, ya que él mejor que nadie sabe que podría perderla a manos de Ocon en 2020.

Tras un doloroso y humillante 2018, cruzar la bandera a cuadros fue la redención para Bottas: el mismo que deslumbró con un cuarto lugar en Williams y que arribó a Mercedes para ser campeón mundial.

No se puede infravalorar la importancia del estado mental de un deportista, y aunque de aquí en más Valtteri no cuente con la estrategia más brillante por parte de su equipo – quienes sueñan con que Hamilton alcance los títulos de Schumacher – si mantiene esta actitud y modo de trabajo podría llegar a desestabilizar a su teammate hasta altísimos niveles, algo que hasta el momento sólo logró con maestría Nico Rosberg en 2016.

Bottas se redimió, y “a quien le corresponda, que se joda°.

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