Valtteri Bottas’ championship hopes took a hammer blow at the Nurburgring today as he retired from the race. The Finn now trails his teammate by 69 points in the standings.
Starting from pole, Bottas fended off Hamilton on the opening lap to retain the lead. However, a big lock-up at the beginning of lap 13 allowed gifted the race lead to his stablemate. He was forced to pit at the end of that lap because he damaged his front tyres with that error.
Nonetheless, he looked set for a comfortable P3 at least until a loss of power under the VSC ultimately lead to a rare retirement due to unreliability. Bottas admits that he needs a ''miracle'' to win the title from here.
"It's disappointing, of course, very disappointing, and one of these things that you can't do anything for," Bottas said. "Obviously I did have the lock-up before that. I think still I had all the chance for the win because that made me commit to a two-stop quite early, and I think a two-stop at the end was the best strategy.
"I knew there was all to play for, even after that lock-up in the drizzle. Then the engine thing, I couldn't believe it.
"Now I understand the gap to Lewis is pretty big in terms of points. Definitely would need a miracle.
"But as always, [there is] no point to give up. You need to keep the bar high and keep trying. We'll see. Disappointed is the best word."
Toto Wolff spoke to the Finn following his DNF and apologised for letting him down.
"We had a good chat, I said sorry for the failure," Wolff said. "I believe that a two-stop that he said himself put himself on a trajectory of a two-stop would actually have been something that could have worked out to win the race.
"But it is what it is. This is still a mechanical sport. Today it was us that let him down."