Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Bottas admits tyre choice at first pit stop was a “mistake”

2019 British Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says his choice of tyre at his first pit stop was a “mistake” because it locked him into a two-stop strategy.

Bottas, who led the opening laps of the race, was the first of the two Mercedes drivers to pit. He put on a second set of medium compound tyres, which ensured he would have to make a second pit stop later in the race.

At that point he was trying to stay close enough to Lewis Hamilton to ensure his team mate came out of the pits behind him.

“After my first stop I felt like it was under control,” said Bottas. “I was following the gap closely, the pit stop gap I had to Lewis, and I was just waiting for him to stop and obviously the Safety Car got him ahead of me at that point.

“I was stuck into a two-stop at that stage, because we stopped for the medium again from medium tyres so it meant anyway I had to stop in the end, which was a mistake from our side. A two-stop, we thought, would be by far the fastest but actually one stop was possible as well. Not quite ideal but one of these days.”

Bottas, who has fallen 39 points behind his team mate at the top of the points standings, drew some consolation by Mercedes’ one-two finish after their tough weekend in Austria.

“At least it felt like the pace was good today and yesterday so there are positives to take,” he said. “Also, really, really happy for us as a team, getting maximum points and it’s pretty impressive the gap to the teams behind now.”

He also prevailed in a hard-fought battle with Hamilton in the opening laps of the race. “we had good racing at the beginning and I really enjoyed it,” he said.

“That’s why we are here, to race hard and fair. I’m sure Toto [Wolff, team principal] didn’t maybe enjoy it as much as we did but it doesn’t matter.”

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Dieter Rencken
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19 comments on “Bottas admits tyre choice at first pit stop was a “mistake””

  1. Speaking with hindsight of course, but it makes you wonder what the point of free practise was when the teams came out of it believing the 2 stop to be a viable option. There never seemed to be enough degradation or performance disparity between compounds to warrant the 2 stop.

    1. Weather scuppered a bit of practice time

    2. DAllein (@)
      14th July 2019, 21:24

      You did notice that most of drivers chose 2-stops?

      1. DAllein (@)
        14th July 2019, 21:25

        It was pretty viable and good strategy.

    3. Two stops also more viable here as the pit cuts off a lot of race track hence you don’t spend as much time in the pits unlike most other race circuits.

  2. Why was Lewis faster on 30-lap old hard tyres than Valtteri on fresh soft tyres?

    1. DAllein (@)
      14th July 2019, 21:18

      Because it is Lewis

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th July 2019, 21:47

      I still think that Bottas won’t have been trying at the end as he won’t have been able to get by Hamilton anyway. He inicially was faster – enough to set fastest lap. Then probably coasted back as Leclerc was no threat given the advantage Mercedes have. His tyres were not new so he maybe just took it careful. But no way would he have expected Hamilton to be able to do that time on the last lap which was reall impressive. I get the feeling that if Hamilton had done that a lap or two before, Bottas will have responded and tried harder to get it. Probably will have managed it too.

      1. @thegianthogweed

        I get the feeling that if Hamilton had done that a lap or two before, Bottas will have responded and tried harder to get it

        Presumably why Hamilton waited until the last lap!

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          14th July 2019, 22:58

          I know and i will admit that was smart thinking if that was the case.

          1. @thegianthogweed Hamilton did exactly the same in France. Bottas and Hamilton were going at it to get the fastest lap and were told it was useless since Vettel was going to have a free pitstop.

            Hamilton then sneakily set the fastest lap at the last lap of the race. Only Vettel was indeed busy with a FL stint and was only 2 hundreths faster on fresh softs.

            He later said the team needed to rethink their FL strategy since in France he was not well prepared to set one and he could have got it had he worked on setting that FL more before actually starting it.

    3. Because he would have begged for the maximum engine mode whereas it wasn’t made available to Bottas. Kinda like at the start of the race hey.

      1. Fabrication courtesy of your tiny, tiny little mind. MrGasss

  3. A two-stop, we thought, would be by far the fastest

    So he got the better strategy and still lost. But of course the safety car did it.

    That’s what you get for setting up your car for Q3 only. As a result of that the driver lacks race pace and is vulnerable to being overtaken on track. Either through strategy or under-/over cut. Or in this case when he needs to make a stop more and still isn’t faster.

    Hamilton actually was faster on worn hard tyres vs (sort of) fresh softs. Also the fault of the safety car I assume?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th July 2019, 21:49

      what does “we thought” mean? They thought it will have been the better one but turned out not to be. I don’t think anyone can say Bottas had a better strategy than Hamilton.

      And read my post above. I think there will have been a reason why bottas didn’t push on his final stint.

      1. @thegianthogweed The reality is that Bottas was just awfully slow during the race. He needs to understand that the weekend does not just consist of a fast lap in Q3. If he had set up his car properly to also work during the race then he would/could have been a lot faster during the race.

        Now his setup got him pole, but then he was crushed during the race.

        Bottas ruined that FL stint for himself by not being able to manage his tyres better. That meant he had to stop too early for his soft set. Plus he didn’t have a fresh set left like Hamilton did.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          15th July 2019, 21:43


          If you think that Bottas thinks that the weekend is focussed around getting a fast lap in Q3, then that is just unreasonable. Bottas will be trying, but he’s just not as good as Hamilton.

          I just don’t understand the definition of awfully slow. Many are saying Hamilton was just outstanding quick this race. If he had absolutely miles more pace than Bottas (and Bottas apparently being awfully slow), there is no way Bottas will have been able to hold him behind until he pitted. Even when Hamilton overtook, Bottas had enough pace to retake his position. It was very clear Hamilton was faster and would pull away if in front, but if he had significantly more pace, that overtake should have been completely successfully within a few laps. It wasn’t

          Bottas was indeed not very quick when he pitted. He closed the gap up to Hamilton slightly but then they were both around the same. But that was enough that without the safety car that Hamilton would have come out behind. On those tyres, if Bottas’s pace and defending ability was as good as it was at the start, he will have been able to keep Hamilton behind quite comfortably until he needed to pit again. If he managed to keep Hamilton behind on the same tyres, He shouldn’t have had a problem here as hamilton’s were not as quick. Admittedly, he would still have lost the race, but as Hamilton may have suffered a bit from following him all this time without the safety car getting him ahead, Bottas may have had a much stronger chance for fastest lap.

          Hamilton was obviously quicker. I won’t deny that. He made his strategy work and deserved the win. But Bottas was a bit unlucky and I don’t agree that he was awfully slow. I also don’t know what evidence you have of this qualifying mode for bottas and bad setup during the race. I constantly see you mention this but you don’t give any links or evidence any time. I will accept it if you prove that Bottas has his car set up for qualifying. But I doubt it. 1 lap pace is his strong point. Defending is very good too most of the time, but long term pace in a race is a bit of a weakness, but he never looked really slow this race, Hamilton just looked at his very best – and Bottas did put up a real challenge when he had the chance at the start.

          1. @thegianthogweed

            If you think that Bottas thinks that the weekend is focussed around getting a fast lap in Q3, then that is just unreasonable.

            It’s utterly clear that that is EXACTLY what he is doing at the moment. Just look at the gap to Hamilton in Q3 and during the race. The gap to Hamilton in quali has suddenly come down and it’s massively up during the race.

            Rosberg did that too for a while (2014 or 2015 I think). Until he realized that he was indeed getting pole more often, but that he was losing the races.

  4. I was at the race and Hamilton came to the concert stage later to ask questions. He studied the stats of all top 10 drivers and the wear on their tyres so knew he could manage 1 stop (he is a master at tyre management and driving with shot ones). So he let the team think he was doing a two stop but but he felt he could do a one stop, hence him asking for hards. If he had revealed what he was doing Bottas would have copied. When he was chasing Bottas after Bottas took the lead back he know what he was doing. He was making Bottas wear his tyres. He is not only a great driver but understands all the nuances which sets him a part.

    And to get that time on the last lap with 32 lap old hards…. amazing!

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