Bottas 'very disappointed' after second slips away


Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix did not have the outcome that Valtteri Bottas had been hoping for.

The Finn started the race from the front row of the grid alongside his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton, but he immediately lost two positions to Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll heading into the first corner.

Although he was quickly able to take care of the Racing Point, the Red Bull remained out of reach for the rest of the race leaving Bottas finishing in third place at the chequered flag.

"Of course, this is very disappointing, I'm not here to finish third,' he admitted afterwards.

"The start was really the key point for my race. It just wasn't good enough, so I lost a few positions. We'll have to look into what happened, but ultimately the guys behind me got a good tow and were able to overtake me.

"On a track like this, where overtaking in the race is so difficult and track position is everything, your race becomes very tricky if you lose places," he said. "With a different start the end result would have been very different.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W11.

"In the first stint, I had to push hard to make up ground which worked fairly well," he continued. "In stint two, I was pretty much right behind Max all the time, but it is so difficult to overtake here, and you need a really big time difference."

Mercedes made the decision to put Bottas onto a new set of soft tyres for his final stint in the hope that he would be able to catch and pass Verstappen in the remaining 16 laps. But that didn't work.

"The soft tyre wasn't the best compound to attack Verstappen in the end, so we need to understand why that was the case," acknowledged team principal Toto Wolff.

“You can see that lost Valtteri’s race," he told Sky Sports F1. "We put the soft on Valtteri, logically he’d catch up on Verstappen and overtake - at least you’re in the fight. But the tyre had no grip."

When Hamilton learned that Bottas had been fitted with the soft tyre for the final stint, he made it clear that he wanted to stay on the medium compound - which proved to be the right call.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post race FIA Press Conference.

"At the end we were ready to put soft tyres on [Lewis'] car because there were not a lot of laps left and it was the logical choice. But he said, 'Don’t give me the soft, give me the medium’."

Wolff added that hearing Hamilton take command of the situation with the right call had been "the most special thing for me".

When his own soft tyre gambit petered out, Bottas made an extra stop on the penultimate lap to get some fresh rubber enabling to successfully take a consolation bonus point for the fastest lap of the race.

"We had a free pit stop at the end, so I could pit for fresh tyres and got the fastest lap," he confirmed. "Overall, it wasn't the race I had hoped for, but sometimes that's just the way it goes.

"We'll analyse everything from the race and move onto the next one."

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