The end of the latest F1 triple-header brought the championship to stop at Monza, with lots of announcements and the fight for the title more alive than ever. Funny enough, the week that saw Valtteri Bottas stating he had reached a multi-year deal with Alfa Romeo and that George Russell will be replacing him on Mercedes from 2022 onwards, saw also the Finn’s finest performance of the year yet.
At least that’s what Andrew Shovlin thinks. The Mercedes trackside engineering director spoke in Mercedes' traditional post-race debrief,and they’re pleased with Bottas’ work done to go from last on the grid to achieve a P3 finishing place.
"He was very impressive in qualifying. He had a tricky morning session but really got it together with a very, very solid qualifying.”
"In the race, Valtteri has often found it harder than Lewis to get through the traffic but he overtook more than anyone. He just kept attacking and attacking, keeping the tyres in good shape so we're super proud of the job he has done."
Since qualifying on Friday it was known that the Mercedes #77 would change various power unit items and so, therefore, would penalize and start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. Bottas managed, despite that, to have a perfect Friday session and a flawless Saturday, winning the Sprint Race Qualifying and heading over into the weekend aiming to a podium finish.
"Certainly he was thinking that way. He went into the day saying he was going to end up on the podium so we've seen a lot of fighting spirit from him.” Said Shovlin.
"And there are windows on that medium that we would have had a bit better warm-up on the restart but unfortunately everyone seemed to be doing the same straight-line speed.”
"The DRS also has a very, very small effect because the rear wing doesn't have anything like the normal level of drag. We're always optimistic but he did well to get the podium."
The Mercedes driver locates 3rd on the drivers’ standings with 141 points, 9 ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and 23 points over Sergio Pérez, although the Finn is yet to win this year. F1’s action will resume at Sochi, in a track where the Finn scored his first-ever and also his latest win.