“Valtteri is in his own race”– Mercedes reveals the reason why Valtteri Bottas didn’t let Lewis Hamilton take his position easily.
Lewis Hamilton yet again had a blockbuster win in the Spanish Grand Prix last week, but surely he had minor hiccups before crossing the finish line in Barcelona.
One of those hiccups was the challenge put forth by his own teammate Valtteri Bottas, where the Finn didn’t let Hamilton pass easily despite the team orders to let the Briton go ahead.
Yet Hamilton eventually overtake Bottas, but Mercedes came in to justify Bottas’ dissent by claiming that had he blindly followed the orders, he would have lost the flow of his own race.
“Valtteri is in his own race. One of the things we said to Valtteri was tos try and build this gap to Leclerc, although their lap times were starting to get more similar as Valtteri’s tyres were wearing out,” said Andrew Shovlin.
“So he was trying to push as fast as he can. He then got the message not to hold Lewis up, and he would have been able to let him go by much more easily if Lewis had got DRS the lap before they actually passed.
“Now, Lewis was within 1.01 seconds of Valtteri. So only one-hundredth of a second from getting DRS, and if he had, it would have been much easier for Valtteri to let him go on the straight.
“Unfortunately, when Lewis is a second behind, Valtteri would lose around two seconds if he just backed up to let him go. It was really that balance between his own race and Lewis’ race that led to the loss there.”
Valtteri Bottas should have been called earlier.
One of the reasons why Hamilton still managed to overtake Bottas without any trouble was that the latter’s tyres were almost finished like Max Verstappen. Once Hamilton went ahead, Bottas resorted to the soft compound.
“But reviewing it, given Valtteri’s tyres had run out shortly after that, given he had to overtake the Ferrari on track anyway, we would have probably triggered it earlier, brought Valtteri in for a new set,” he added.
“He would have passed Charles relatively easily and that situation would have meant Lewis lost less time and, importantly, Valtteri would have lost less time.”