Undoubtedly the Russia Grand Prix is one of the Bottas’ favourites. With the 2017 victory and the excellent 2018, when the Finnish driver was leading the race before letting Lewis Hamilton pass under team orders, Bottas was expected to compete for the pole position in Sochi.
Despite, Mercedes has been struggling during the whole weekend, showing a disadvantage comparatively to Ferrari on the straights. Hamilton has managed to partially compensate for the lack of top speed, exploiting the highest Mercedes downforce with the best third sector, terminating second.
By contrast, Bottas has suffered in the last corner, with his W10 displaying a significant understeer in the last corners. The Finnish driver, following the qualifying session, underlined that he does not understand the balance issues experienced.
“It was tricky today,” he affirmed.
“In the last sector, in Turn 13, pretty much in every lap, sometimes a bigger one, sometimes a smaller one, but I always had a snap.
“On both runs in Q3 I just couldn’t drive around the issue. I always had the snap, so then the rear tyres would overheat and that was it for Sector 3.
“It was really, really difficult and I don’t really understand why.”
Albeit the fifth time, Bottas will start tomorrow for the fourth position as due to the Verstappen’s engine related penalty.
🗨️ "The Ferraris are quite a bit faster than us on the straights, our race pace looked decent yesterday and we’re starting on a different tyre to everyone around us, so we can hopefully create some opportunities. It’s still all to play for." - @ValtteriBottas #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/ygxxIYOskr— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 28 settembre 2019
Asked about his race prospects, Valtterri Bottas appeared more optimistic, remarking how the different tyre strategies adopted by Mercedes could allow him to compete for the victory. Nevertheless, he pointed out how Ferrari is represents a major threat, having shown the best performance on the first two sectors and a good pace during the FP1 and FP2.
“The Ferraris are quite a bit faster than us on the straights, our race pace looked decent yesterday and we’re starting on a different tyre to everyone around us, so we can hopefully create some opportunities. It’s still all to play for."