Valtteri Bottas: Doesn’t he have anything to say about Mercedes?

It’s a radio message we don’t hear often in a modern Grand Prix. When Valtteri Bottas was just behind Leader Lewis Hamilton after the second start, he demanded before his stop on lap 31: “I want a different mixture than Lewis in the next part of the race.”

The Formula 1 experts immediately raised their eyebrows. When the Mercedes mechanics had routinely dispatched both cars, Bottas on lap 31 and Hamilton on lap 32, both racers rolled on the same hard tire compound.

Long-time GP driver Martin Brundle pointed out: “How should that work? Bottas was the first of the two Mercedes drivers to come to the pits, after that it was hard to tell Hamilton that unfortunately he shouldn’t have hard tires just because Bottas wanted a special sausage. “

The concern of the 31-year-old Finn was clear: he felt that he can only beat Hamilton if he acts differently than the serial winner. Of course, there was talk in the social networks that Bottas had nothing to say at Mercedes, but it’s not that simple, as chief strategist James Vowles explains.

The Englishman explains in the debriefing of the turbulent Grand Prix: “Our drivers were both on the medium-hard mix. On lap 30 of 59 it was clear that we had to stop again. On Valtteri’s car, front tire vibrations got worse and worse. That brought back bad memories of our troubles at Silverstone. And of course we wanted to avoid punctures shortly before the end, like back then in England. “

“It is common for the leader to have priority when it comes to the pit stop. But precisely because of the vibrations, we decided to process Valtteri’s car first. The medium-hard tire showed more signs of wear than expected, even though we used these rollers for less than planned. So there was no way around choosing the tough Pirelli. “

«We would have loved to comply with Valtteri’s request. But the starting position should have been different for that. If we had brought in Hamilton as the first driver – as was originally planned – then we could have tried a different strategy with Bottas. Here, however, we had to choose the reliable route for safety reasons. “

When Bottas ‘engineer Riccardo Musconi told the Finn after the stops that Lewis had also had problems with his medium-hard tires and was now riding hard Pirelli, Bottas’ car did not protest.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff confirms: “We talked about working with different strategies. But the problems with the medium-hard tires turned everything upside down. “

Toskana-GP 2020, Mugello

1. Lewis Hamilton (GB), Mercedes, 1:31:55,955h
2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes, +4.942 sec
3. Alex Albon (T), Red Bull Racing, +7,910
4. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Renault, +10.476
5. Sergio Pérez (MEX), Racing Point, +15,638
6. Lando Norris (GB), McLaren, +18,931
7. Daniil Kvyat (RUS), AlphaTauri, +21,751
9. Charles Leclerc (MC), Ferrari, +27,785
8. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN), Alfa Romeo, +29,247
10. Sebastian Vettel (D), Ferrari, +29,595
11. George Russell (GB), Williams, +31,894
12. Romain Grosjean (F), Haas, +40,707
Lance Stroll (CDN), Racing Point, tire damage / accident
Esteban Ocon (F), Renault, Bremsen
Nicholas Latifi (CDN), Williams, Crash
Kevin Magnussen (DK), Haas, Crash
Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Alfa Romeo, Crash
Carlos Sainz (E), McLaren, Crash
Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing, Crash
Pierre Gasly (F), AlphaTauri, Crash

World Championship stand drivers after 9 of 17 races

1. Hamilton 190 points
2. Bottas 135
3. Verstappen 110
4. Norris 65
5. Albon 63
6. Stroll 57
7. Ricciardo 53
8. Leclerc 49
9. Pérez 44
10. Gasly 43
11. Sainz 41
12. Ocon 30
13. Vettel 17
14. Kvyat 10
15. Nico Hülkenberg (D) 6
16. Raikkonen 2
17. Giovinazzi 2
18. Magnussen 1
19. Latifi 0
20. Russell 0
21. Grosjean 0


1. Mercedes 325
2. Red Bull Racing 173
3. McLaren 106
4. Racing Point 92
5. Renault 83
6. Ferrari 66
7. AlphaTauri 53
8. Alfa Romeo 4
9. Haas 1
10. Williams 0

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