The French Grand Prix hasn’t been an easy one for Mercedes, especially their second driver Valtteri Bottas.
The Finn was looking very reliable in the first part of the race, almost putting a shadow on his teammate in third position and Max Verstappen, leader of the race. At this point, Red Bull decided to go for a two-stop and pitted, putting on a medium compound. The Silver Arrows decided to go straightforward and try to win the race on worn out hard tyres. The gamble almost worked with Hamilton, whose ability to make the tyres last is renowned, until he had to surrender to the Dutchman on the penultimate lap. For the Finnish driver, this strategy worked differently: Bottas asked directly to his team to pit because he did not feel good on the tyres he had on at the moment and was sure he couldn’t last until the end but Mercedes kept him out equally. In the end, the “Wood man” let himself go on an angry team radio.
“Why the f*ck does no one listen to me when I say it's going to be a two-stopper?!" F***ing hell," he shouted.
“I think the winning strategy today was a two-stop. It is easy to say afterwards but that is how it is,” - he explained to Sky Sports F1.
“As a team I think we were too focussed on completing the one stop thinking it was the best but it wasn't ,-he continues -I had no front tyres left for the last 10-15 laps so it was really just trying to get the car home. It was not fun the last stint."
When asked if he thinks he said too much, Bottas shakes his head. “I was making very clear what I was thinking, - the Finn says - I was suggesting a two-stop earlier in the race but the team went one-stop and here we are."
The man explains that Mercedes wanted to go for a single stop but French GP just was not the race.
“You feel like a sitting duck, it is quite simple,- Bottas says - Of course, I tried everything I could. I tried to finish on the podium but the tyres were completely gone so no chance. I think we thought the tyres would last a lot better than they did, I think that was the biggest thing. We thought the hard tyre could do nearly the whole race but that was not the case."
Gutted for the lost chance of going on the podium in a quite delicate part of his career, Bottas points out that the Silver Arrows could do more if they did what he had asked for.
“If I did a two-stop for sure we would have been on the podium and fighting for the win."
The Finn is sincerely disappointed, maybe because he feels like he hasn’t shown off what he can do and maybe the frustration took over. Now let’s get ready for the second appointment scheduled of the triple header: the first Grand Prix in Austria to see if the team will make it up to Bottas.