“There will be at least two opportunities with the strategy” – Valtteri Bottas will start the US Grand Prix from P9 after taking a five-place grid penalty for a new ICE.
Valtteri Bottas needs to get past Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, and Charles Leclerc before he can support Lewis Hamilton in fighting off the Red Bull duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in the US Grand Prix.
But he admits it’ll be difficult, especially with the McLaren and Ferrari duo. So his real hope seems to lie with the fact that the race could be a two-stopper, allowing Mercedes an opportunity to pull an advantage.
“They’re not the easy cars to overtake for sure. And based on what I felt on Friday, following was quite tricky, but at least it seems like it’s gonna be more or less a two-stop race, so there will be at least two opportunities with the strategy. And you never know, there will be opportunities.”
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Bottas expects a tight battle between Mercedes and Red Bull
The Finn is surprised by Red Bull’s impressive performance in qualifying, with Verstappen taking pole and Perez P3. But he expects a tighter contest in the race, as both teams go hard to win the constructors’ championship.
“Yesterday [Friday] they looked okay, but nothing amazing, so I think they found a bit more than we did overnight.
“For me the car felt a lot better than it did yesterday, but still Red Bull made a bigger step with performance, and they definitely had the upper hand today. I still think race pace-wise it’d be quite similar.”